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New CIO takes reins at SpartanNash

Arif Dar succeeds retiring David deS. Couch

Arif Dar has joined food distributor and retailer SpartanNash Co. as senior vice president and chief information officer.

SpartanNash said Dar takes over the CIO post effective today from David deS. Couch, who is slated to retire Feb. 2.

Arif Dar
Photo: SpartanNash

Dar comes to the company from household cleaning and consumer products manufacturer SC Johnson & Son Inc., where he had served as vice president and CIO since September 2013.

At Grand Rapids, Mich.-based SpartanNash, Dar will be responsible for enterprisewide IT, ensuring its alignment with business strategy and directing the design, development, operation and support of IT systems and programs. The company said his oversight includes enterprise architecture management, application management, security and risk management, and infrastructure and operations support management. Reporting to President and CEO David Staples, Dar also is charged with leading the IT team and leveraging technologies to drive a competitive advantage.

Before joining SC Johnson, Dar was chief technology officer at Toronto-based Maple Leaf Foods and vice president and CTO at Berlin-based Bombardier Transportation. Prior to that, he served in various positions at General Motors, Tyco International and General Electric.

“We look forward to having Arif join the company, as his record of large-scale IT strategic planning and execution combined with his vision, collaborative leadership, supply chain experience and knowledge of the food distribution industry lay the foundation for success at SpartanNash,” Staples said in a statement. “During his tenure at SC Johnson, Arif’s cross-functional relationships throughout the business, empowering management style and ability to drive operating efficiencies with diverse technologies drove an improved customer experience, cost savings and sales growth.”

Couch has been CIO at SpartanNash since 2013 and was named senior vice president this past March. Previously, he had served as vice president of IT since 1996 and, for five years before that, as director of IT. He joined Spartan Stores in 1987 from Hewlett-Packard Corp.  

“Dave’s leadership has been key to our success,” Staples commented. “We thank Dave for his contributions to the company and wish him and his family all the best.”

SpartanNash distributes food and other grocery products to independent and chain retailers, corporate-owned supermarkets, and U.S. military commissaries and exchanges. The company also has fresh produce distribution and fresh food processing operations.

Currently, SpartanNash operates 160 supermarkets, mainly under the Family Fare Supermarkets, Martin’s Super Markets, D&W Fresh Market, VG’s Grocery, Dan’s Supermarket and Family Fresh Market banners. The 21-store Martin’s chain, with stores in northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan, was acquired in late November, and the transaction closed Dec. 31. The South Bend, Ind.-based retailer totaled over $450 million in sales for its fiscal year ended July 29. Its operations also include 17 in-store pharmacies, eight fuel centers, a Martin’s Express convenience store, a health system pharmacy and a hospital café.

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