CHICAGO -- IGA here has named Larry Willis executive vice president and chief operating officer, effective in mid-January. Willis, most recently president of Fleming Cos.' Miami division, will direct all domestic operations for IGA and support the efforts of 52 distribution centers serving IGA's 2,500 supermarkets in 49 states. He will report directly to Thomas S. Haggai, IGA chairman and chief executive officer.
ld SN. "Larry's vast experience in the food distribution industry is a perfect fit for our alliance," Haggai said. "He has hands-on experience in retail marketing, has served as president of two Fleming distribution centers -- both of which serve IGA stores -- and he understands the management side of the business." Willis, an 11-year veteran of Fleming, held a variety of posts at the Oklahoma City-based wholesaler before taking on the Miami position -- including director of Fleming's equity stores in Oklahoma City, operations manager for its Phoenix division and president of its Fort Worth division. Early in his career, he also worked for Winn-Dixie Stores, Jacksonville, Fla., and Super Food Services, Dayton, Ohio.
He had been working on Fleming's re-engineering program, and had been slated for a specific role in the re-engineered company, which Fleming declined to pinpoint last week. He was recommended for the IGA position by Robert E. Stauth, Fleming chairman, president and chief executive officer. IGA is a global supermarket network of more than 4,000 stores with aggregate sales of $16.5 billion annually. It is owned by 21 wholesale companies operating 75 distribution centers worldwide.