United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) unveiled a new leadership and organizational structure comprised of four growth platforms – services, wholesale, retail and corporate/commercial transformation – linked to the food distributor’s strategic priorities.
UNFI, based in Providence, RI, said yesterday that Chairman Chris Testa and four other C-suite executives will take on leadership roles in the revamped organization. Appointed to lead the services platform, Testa is tasked with driving significant sales and profit growth through the company’s emerging brands and services divisions. He will be responsible for vendor services, professional services, e-commerce and the proprietary and private label portfolio.
Test (left picture) will report to UNFI’s CEO, Sandy Douglas, and work with him and other senior leaders to introduce and lead company-wide growth initiatives accelerating UNFI’s Fuel the Future strategy, a three-year project years presented to investors in June 2021.
Steve Dietz, Chief Customer Officer; Mark Bushway, director of supply chain; and Jack Clare, chief information officer, have been appointed to the wholesale platform.
Dietz will manage customer growth work, continuing to expand UNFI’s customer base and improving support for existing and new customers. He will report to Douglas as of August 1. Bushway will lead supply chain, transportation and security projects, and Jack Clare will lead information technology. Both will continue to focus on system standardization and customer execution, UNFI noted.
Plans are for Dietz and Bushway to report to Douglas when COO Eric Dorne retires Oct. 29. UNFI had announced in mid-May that Dorne intended to retire in the fall.
Mike Stigers, CEO of Cub Foods’ retail business unit, will continue to manage the UNFI-owned retail division, which includes 53 Cub Foods stores and 21 Shoppers stores. He reports to Douglas.
“We are on an aggressive path to drive shareholder value by helping to create sustainable and profitable growth with and for our customers and suppliers,” said Douglas, who became UNFI’s CEO last August, in a statement. “With positive momentum and a $140 billion addressable market with significant opportunities to sell more to existing and new customers, we are well positioned to achieve these goals. Our high-performing and diverse leadership team, new organizational structure and value-based approach will ensure that we dedicate maximum managerial talent and focus on delivering on these growth plans.
UNFI said those responsible for the business and transformation platform will focus on building capabilities for the future, shareholder value and sustainable growth for customers and suppliers. Each leader will continue to report to Sandy Douglas. They include John Howard (finance, accounting, tax, shared services, risk and investor relations); Mahrukh Hussain (legal, real estate and cybersecurity); Matt Echols (Communications, Environment, Social and Governance, Government and Industry Relations and UNFI Foundation); Danielle Benedict (human resources, training, labor relations, diversity, equity and inclusion); Louis Martin (strategy, transformation, data and digital experience); and Brendan Walsh (internal audit).
Additionally, UNFI has recruited the following executives to drive growth in the company’s priority areas and support its strategy:
• Kristyn Farahmand, formerly Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Strategic Finance at CBRE Group Inc., will lead UNFI’s Investor Relations and Finance Transformation teams and report to Howard.
• Tehzin Chadwick, former global senior manager of environmental health and safety compliance at SYSCO, will lead workplace safety and food safety initiatives in the US and Canada and report to Bushway.
• Usman Waheed, former chief information officer at Knoll, will lead the company’s digital strategy focused on customers, suppliers and associates and will report to Martin.
• Angie Balian, formerly Vice President and General Manager of Weston Foods, will join the brands and services team to focus on initiatives to accelerate growth, improve efficiency and help customers succeed and report to Testa.
• Autumn Price, formerly Vice President of Government and Industry Relations at Land O’Lakes Inc., will lead the newly created public and government affairs team and partner with the management team, customers and industry groups in ‘UNFI to work with national, state and local governments. , and civil society to advocate for competitive legal and regulatory environments that allow independent and family-owned retailers to invest, grow and thrive. The prize will pay off to Echols.
“Over the past six months, we have accelerated decision-making and flattened our organization, brought in external leaders to fill new roles, and elevated and targeted existing UNFI leaders to create a diverse team that is aligned and motivated to deliver on our Fuel the Future Strategy,” added Douglas. “As a key part of the leadership plan, Chris will now be able to focus his full attention on our most critical growth areas, our services and our brand portfolios. I am confident that our customers and suppliers will benefit from greater value and offers for their businesses. »
The largest publicly traded grocery distributor in North America, UNFI operates nearly 50 distribution centers and supplies more than 30,000 retailers in the United States and Canada, including health food supermarkets, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, e-commerce retailers and food service providers.