Unified Grocers said Tuesday that Christine Neal would be promoted to EVP, CFO and treasurer effective Oct. 1, taking over for CFO Michael F. Henn, who will retire effective Sept. 30.
Henn joined Unified last October following the retirement of Richard J. Martin, and said he was stepping down from the retailer-owned cooperative distributor for personal reasons. Neal has agreed to put off her own retirement to take on the CFO role while Unified commences a search for her successor.
“It’s been a privilege to work with a great management team that has accomplished so much in the past year to position the company for solid growth going forward,” Henn said in a release. “While personal circumstances have driven my decision to step back from a full time role, I will continue to assist the company in a more limited capacity as it transitions to new financial leadership.”
“Unified was extremely fortunate to have Mike on the team to guide us through a period of transition and to set the financial foundations for the next phase of the company’s growth,” Unified President and CEO Bob Ling said. “I’m grateful that he will continue to support the company going forward. Mike has played an important role, and all of us at Unified wish him well.”
Neal, who currently serves as treasurer at Unified, has been with Unified since 2003 in roles responsible for finance, treasury, strategic planning and human resources. She is also president of Unified’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Grocers Capital Company.
“Christine is a very talented executive with a strong track record of leadership in finance and strategy, and excellent knowledge of our company,” said Ling. “In addition to her proven financial management skills, she has been a key driver of the company’s new strategic plan, which we expect to finalize soon.”
As CFO and treasurer, Neal will be responsible for finance, accounting, information systems, internal audit and strategic planning. Prior to joining Unified, Neal acquired a wide range of financial experience within the food industry, including serving for several years as a financial consultant to Unified. She previously served as CFO for the California Restaurant Association, and was controller for Gelson’s Market. Neal began her career at the Cincinnati office of Arthur Young & Co., where she worked for eight years as an accountant and audit manager.