Associated Wholesale Grocers said David Smith, president and CEO, plans to retire at the end of 2023, and that Dan Funk, currently chief operating officer, has been chosen to succeed him.
Kansas City, Kan.-based AWG is the nation’s largest retailer-owned grocery cooperative, supplying more than 1,100 member companies and more than 3,400 retail locations across 31 states.
“David's retirement and leadership transition has been in the planning stages for several years,” said Barry Queen, AWG’s chairman.
He said the wholesaler worked with a management consulting and recruiting firm, along with AWG’s executive leadership team, on the succession plan.
Smith started his career in the food industry as an independent store owner, then rose through the ranks at longtime grocery wholesaler Fleming Cos., which went out of business in 2003. That same year, he joined AWG. He opened the company’s Gulf Coast Division in Louisiana in 2013 as senior VP and general manager, later became executive VP and was named president and CEO of AWG in 2015.
During his time at AWG, the company has greatly expanded its footprint and grown from wholesale sales of $3.2 billion to more than $11 billion.
Earlier this year, Smith received the Great American Award from the National Grocers Association.
“All in all, this experience serving as AWG’s president and CEO has been the most incredible experience of my life and an unmerited gift," said Smith.
Funk started his career with AWG in 2012 as president of the company’s Valu Merchandisers Co. subsidiary, which specializes in the procurement and marketing of HBC; general and seasonal merchandise; natural, organic and specialty food, and pharmacy services. Two years later, he was named senior VP of center store, and in 2015 he became executive VP and chief merchandising and marketing officer. In 2019, he became AWG’s first-ever chief supply chain and merchandising officer, and in 2020 he became the COO of AWG.
Before AWG, Funk held several food retail and wholesale positions at independent and chain grocers.
“I am grateful to the board of directors, our cooperative members, and the AWG teammates for all your support as I transition into this new role,” said Funk. “I look forward to serving our team, membership, and the board of directors as we continue to support independent grocers in communities across America.”