Otto Named H-E-B's Chief Merchant

H.E. Butt Grocery Co. said last week that Martin Otto will become chief merchant effective Jan. 1, 2010. Otto, an 18-year veteran of H-E-B, will remain chief financial officer. He assumes the role of chief merchant from Steve Harper, who plans to continue to work with H-E-B on a part-time basis, mentoring key leaders within the company and assessing

SAN ANTONIO — H.E. Butt Grocery Co. here said last week that Martin Otto will become chief merchant effective Jan. 1, 2010. Otto, an 18-year veteran of H-E-B, will remain chief financial officer. He assumes the role of chief merchant from Steve Harper, who plans to continue to work with H-E-B on a part-time basis, mentoring key leaders within the company and assessing opportunities within its manufacturing and retail operations, the company said. Otto previously was executive vice president of grocery and fresh merchandising and procurement, and he also led several of H-E-B's operating areas throughout Texas.

HILLER JOINS FAMILY COMPANY AS VP

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — Justin Hiller has joined Hiller's Markets, his family's chain of seven upscale supermarkets here, as vice president, the company said last week. He had spent the last three years working as a manager at Gelson's Supermarkets in Los Angeles. His father, Jim Hiller, is the owner and chief executive officer of Hiller's. “I always wanted to work in the family business,” Justin Hiller said in a prepared statement. “I learned a lot [at Gelson's] and can't wait to pair my experience with my father's knowledge and talent. I have no doubt we will make a great team.”

UNITED NAMES PRESTON TO GM POST

LUBBOCK, Texas — Scott Preston has been named business director of general merchandise for United Supermarkets, succeeding Gary Crawford, who plans to retire next month, the company said. Preston, who most recently was director of general merchandise and HBC for Safeway International Supermarkets in Saudi Arabia, has more than 40 years of retail experience, including at the Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway chain (no relation to Safeway International) and Jacksonville, Fla.-based Winn-Dixie Stores. Crawford had been with United since 1999 following almost 15 years at Randall's and Tom Thumb in Houston and 10 years at Sav-On Drugs in Houston.

TUCKER ELECTED TO BOARD AT AGNE

PEMBROKE, N.H. — Associated Grocers of New England here said Phillip R. Tucker has been elected to the member-owned cooperative's board of directors to fill an open seat. Tucker is owner of Aldrich General Store, North Haverhill, N.H., a $3-million-a-year independent. Tucker is a member of the New Hampshire Grocers Association and served as its treasurer between 1993 and 1997.