PROVIDENCE, R.I.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–United Natural Foods, Inc. (NYSE: UNFI) (the “Company” or “UNFI”) today announced a new leadership and organizational structure to sharpen the Company’s focus on key operational priorities designed to better support its customers, suppliers, associates, and the planet as it continues to build the team, capabilities, and technology that are key to its Fuel the Future strategy.
“We are on an aggressive path to drive shareholder value by helping to create sustainable, profitable growth with and for our customers and suppliers,” said UNFI CEO Sandy Douglas. “With positive momentum and a $140 billion addressable market with significant opportunities for selling more to existing and new customers, we are well positioned to attain these objectives. Our high performing, diverse leadership team, new organizational structure and value-based approach will ensure we are devoting maximum managerial talent and focus toward achieving these growth plans.”
Going forward, UNFI’s leadership team will be dedicated to four growth platforms: Services, Wholesale, Retail, and Corporate and Business Transformation, operating under the following leadership teams:
To achieve significant sales and profit growth through UNFI’s emerging brands and services divisions, Chris Testa will focus on leading the UNFI Services platform, responsible for the Company’s supplier services, professional services, e-commerce, and private and owned brands portfolio.
Chris will also be responsible for working with Sandy Douglas and the senior leadership team to introduce and lead enterprise-wide growth initiatives accelerating the Fuel the Future strategy. He will continue to report to Sandy Douglas.
This platform is a key component of the Company’s goal to create compelling value for customers and suppliers by leveraging existing data and capabilities from its scaled and diversified operating business.
Steve Dietz will lead UNFI Wholesale’s customer growth work, continuing to expand the Company’s customer base and enhance support to existing and new customers. He will report directly to Sandy Douglas, effective August 1, 2022.
Mark Bushway will lead supply chain, transportation and safety, and Jack Clare will lead information technology. Bushway and Clare will continue to focus on standardization of systems and customer execution. Both will report directly to Sandy Douglas upon the retirement of Eric Dorne on October 29, 2022.
CUB CEO Mike Stigers will continue to lead UNFI’s owned retail division made up of its CUB and Shoppers banners, reporting to Sandy Douglas.
CORPORATE AND BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION PLATFORM
The leaders of UNFI’s corporate and transformation agenda will be focused on building capabilities for the future, value creation for our shareholders, and long-term sustainable growth for our customers and suppliers. Each of these leaders will continue to report to Sandy Douglas.
- John Howard will lead finance, accounting, tax, shared services, risk, and investor relations.
- Mahrukh Hussain will lead legal, real estate, and cyber security.
- Matt Echols will lead communications, environmental, social and governance, government relations and industry relations, and the UNFI Foundation.
- Danielle Benedict will lead human resources, training, labor relations, diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Louis Martin will lead strategy, transformation, data, and digital experience.
- Brendan Walsh will lead internal audit.
In addition to the above senior leadership team, UNFI has recruited talented leaders to accelerate growth in high priority areas of the business and support its strategy.
- Kristyn Farahmand, formerly SVP Investor Relations and Strategic Finance at CBRE Group, Inc., will report to John Howard and lead UNFI’s investor relations and finance transformation teams.
- Tehzin Chadwick, formerly Global Senior Director of Environmental Health and Safety Compliance at SYSCO, will report to Mark Bushway and lead workplace safety and food safety initiatives across the U.S. and Canada.
- Usman Waheed, formerly Chief Information Officer at Knoll, will report to Louis Martin and lead the Company’s digital strategy focused on customers, suppliers, and associates.
- Angie Balian, formerly VP and General Manager at Weston Foods, will report to Chris Testa and will partner with the brands and services team with a focus on initiatives to accelerate growth, drive efficiencies, and help customers succeed
- Autumn Price, formerly VP of Government and Industry Relations at Land O’Lakes, Inc., will report to Matt Echols and will lead the newly created government and public affairs team and will partner with UNFI’s leadership team, customers, and industry groups 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.
“Over the past six months we’ve sped decision-making and flattened our organization, brought in outside leaders to fill new roles, and elevated and focused existing UNFI leaders to create a diverse team that is aligned and motivated to deliver on our Fuel the Future strategy,” said Douglas. “As a key part of the leadership plan, Chris will now be able to give his full attention to our most critical growth areas, our services and brands portfolios. I’m confident our customers and suppliers will benefit with greater value and offerings to their businesses.”
UNFI announced its three-year Fuel the Future strategy to investors in June 2021. The Company enters year two of the strategy with strong momentum and expects to have increased capital allocation flexibility as the Company remains on track to be within its longer-term target net leverage range well ahead of schedule.
About United Natural Foods
UNFI is North America’s premier grocery wholesaler delivering the widest variety of fresh, branded, and owned brand products to more than 30,000 locations throughout North America, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, ecommerce providers, and food service customers. UNFI also provides a broad range of value-added services and segmented marketing expertise, including proprietary technology, data, market insights, and shelf management to help customers and suppliers build their businesses and brands. As the largest full-service grocery partner in North America, UNFI is committed to building a food system that is better for all and is uniquely positioned to deliver great food, more choices, and fresh thinking to customers. To learn more about how UNFI is Fueling the Future of Food, visit www.unfi.com.