UNFI shakes up leadership and organizational structure

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United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) announced new management changes and a new team structure. The company says it is taking steps to pursue its service, wholesale, retail, and business and enterprise transformation focal points, which is impacting the penetration of its private label assortment.

First covered by Store brands‘sister publication progressive grocerthe new organizational structure includes the following senior management updates:

  • Christopher Testa, president of UNFI since 2018, will focus on leading the services platform, a role in which he will oversee vendor services, professional services, e-commerce, and private and proprietary brand portfolios. He will report to Douglas.
  • Steve Dietz, who also reports to Douglas, has been hired to lead UNFI’s wholesale platform. He will continue to expand the company’s customer base and improve support for existing and new customers. Also in the wholesale group, Mark Bushway will lead supply chain, transportation and security, and Jack Clare will lead information technology.
  • CUB CEO Mike Stigers will continue to lead the UNFI-owned retail division, comprised of the CUB and Shoppers banners, reporting to Douglas.
  • Business and enterprise transformation platform leaders include John Howard, who will lead finance, accounting, tax, shared services, risk and investor relations, and Mahrukh Hussain, who will lead legal, real estate and cybersecurity. Also in this area, Matt Echols will lead communications, environment, social and governance, government relations and industry relations and the UNFI Foundation, while Danielle Benedict will oversee human resources, training, relations work, diversity, equity and inclusion. Louis Martin is now leading strategy, transformation, data and digital experience, and internal audit will be led by Brendan Walsh.

UNFI has brought in other leaders to accelerate growth in the company’s high priority areas and support its strategy, including:

  • 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.
  • Tehzin Chadwick, former global senior manager of environmental health and safety compliance at Sysco, will be responsible for workplace safety and food safety initiatives in the United States and Canada.
  • Usman Waheed, former chief information officer at Knoll, will oversee the company’s digital strategy focused on customers, suppliers and associates.
  • Angie Balian, most recently vice president and general manager of Weston Foods, will join the brands and services team.
  • Autumn Price, formerly vice president of government and industry relations at Land O’Lakes, Inc., will lead the newly created government and public affairs team.

These changes in human capital are part of UNFI’s three-year program “Power the futurestrategy that was presented to investors in 2021. According to UNFI, the company expects to have increased flexibility in capital allocation and to be within its target longer-term net leverage range term before the scheduled date.

UNFI, based in Providence, RI, offers a wide variety of private label products to customers across North America, including health food supermarkets, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, trade retailers electronics and food service customers.

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