Duncan Takes CEO Spot at Supervalu Early

MINNEAPOLIS — Supervalu [4] here said Monday that Sam K. Duncan has taken over as president and chief executive officer sooner than previously expected.

Duncan had been scheduled to assume leadership of Supervalu in mid-March, after Supervalu completes a tender offer for up to 30% of its common stock to an investor group led by Cerberus Capital Management. However, Supervalu's directors opted to elect Duncan to the new posts immediately "so he can start to refine and, where appropriate, begin to implement plans for the business," the company said.

Supervalu said the tender offer — at a cash price of $4 per share — is expected to close the week of March 18. Duncan succeeds Wayne Sales, who has held the titles of president and CEO since last July. Sales will remain executive chairman of the board until the transactions with Cerberus – both the tender offer and the sale of five retail chains — are completed.

Read more: Supervalu Sells Off Big Chains [5]

Duncan, 61, said he has visited stores, spoken with many of Supervalu's independent retailers and Save-A-Lot licensees and met many team members over the past month. "These activities have reinforced my belief that Supervalu has a bright future, and I'm excited to start putting in place plans to improve our results and increase shareholder value."

Duncan spent more than 30 years in the food industry, joining Albertsons in 1969 as a courtesy clerk and working his way up to director of operations before he joined Kroger [6]-owned Fred Meyer Inc., Portland, Ore., in 1992 as vice president, grocery. He was named president of Kroger's Ralphs Grocery Co., Compton, Calif., in 1998 and remained there until 2001, when he returned to Fred Meyer as president. In 2002 he was named president and CEO of ShopKo Stores, Green Bay, Wis., and subsequently joined OfficeMax, Itasca, Ill., as chairman, president and CEO from 2005 until 2011.

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