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AWG President Smith To Retire, Names Funk As Successor

AWG
David Smith and Dan Funk

Kansas City, Kansas-based Associated Wholesale Grocers has announced that its president and CEO, David Smith, will retire at the end of 2023. Dan Funk, COO, will assume the office upon his retirement.  

Smith joined AWG in 2003 and became president and CEO in 2015. Smith has focused on independent supermarket operators’ development and success throughout his career. He has 48 years of experience in the industry and 36 years of service in wholesale.

During his time with AWG, he has seen the cooperative and membership grow from a Midwest company with 1,200 stores and three divisions with sales of $3.2 billion to a central U.S. company with retail sales exceeding $24 billion and wholesale sales exceeding $11 billion. 

“David’s retirement and leadership transition has been in the planning stages for several years. The board has worked with him and a leading management consulting and recruiting firm, along with the executive leadership team, on a comprehensive and strategic succession plan for the past two years,” said Barry Queen, AWG’s chairman of the board.  

Smith said, “All in all, this experience serving as AWG’s president and CEO has been the most incredible experience of my life and an unmerited gift. I feel blessed to have been chosen to serve, lead and embrace AWG as my home. The board went through a comprehensive and deliberate process, selecting Dan as the next-generation chief executive. His selection ensures the executive leadership of AWG will remain in the hands of proven leaders from within whom we all know and trust.” 

Funk started his career with AWG as president of Valu Merchandisers Company in October 2012. After two years leading the AWG subsidiary, he assumed the role of SVP of the center store. In December 2015, Funk became EVP and chief merchandising and marketing officer. In January 2019, he became AWG’s first chief supply chain and merchandising officer, and in 2020 became the COO of AWG. Before AWG, Funk held numerous food retail and wholesale positions for leading independent and chain grocers.  

“I am grateful to the board of directors, our cooperative members and the AWG teammates for all your support as I transition into this new role,” Funk said. “I look forward to serving our team, membership and the board of directors as we continue to support independent grocers in communities across America.”

Queen agreed, “On behalf of the board, I thank David for his leadership and commitment to AWG and the member-retailers that will continue to count on his leadership throughout the rest of 2023. The legacy David will leave behind will be hard to follow, and his impact will be felt for years to come. Dan’s integrity and strategic mindset, coupled with his retail background, will enable him to lead AWG into the next chapter focused on the  growth and success of the cooperative.” 

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