MECHANICSVILLE, Va. -- Gerald Friedler, the second-ranking executive at Certified Grocers of California, Los Angeles, has resigned, reportedly to join Richfood here.
Friedler, who was senior vice president for marketing and merchandising at Certified, has proffered his resignation, effective Aug. 31, and is expected to join Richfood shortly thereafter, industry sources told SN.
Friedler declined comment on the reports last week.
Donald D. Bennett, Richfood's president and chief executive officer, said he has had discussions with Friedler, but said he did not expect to have anything to announce until later this week.
Richfood, a wholesale distributor, recorded sales of $1.3 billion for the year ended April 30.
Certified is a cooperative distributor with volume of about $2 billion.
Friedler has been with Certified for 12 years. His responsibilities include oversight of two divisions -- Grocers Specialty Co. and Hawaiian Grocery Co. -- as well as nonfood operations and marketing.
He was passed over for the post of president at Certified earlier this year when Al Plamann was named president and CEO. Plamann succeeded Everett Dingwell, 62, who retired.
Industry observers suggested that Friedler's reasons for leaving Certified may have been influenced by his desire to operate his own farm. Friedler has purchased 11 acres of Virginia farmland, sources said.
According to one observer, if Friedler joins Richfood he will become a candidate for CEO when Bennett retires. Other potential candidates to succeed Bennett include John Stokely, executive vice president for finance and administration, and chief financial officer, and Christopher Brown, executive vice president for procurement and marketing.