Grocery industry veteran Walt Lentz has joined SpartanNash Co. as president of food distribution, its largest business unit.
SpartanNash said Monday that Lentz, who also holds the title of executive vice president, now oversees its $4 billion food distribution segment and the company’s overall supply chain. Reporting to President and CEO David Staples, he also is charged with growing the profitability of SpartanNash’s food wholesale and manufacturing units.
Lentz brings 32 years of logistics and supply chain experience to SpartanNash. Most recently, he served as acting CEO and chief supply chain officer of Peapod, the Chicago-based online grocery arm of Ahold Delhaize USA.
In coming to SpartanNash, Lentz (left) takes over the role formerly held by Derek Jones, who left the company in April 2017 to become president of the foodservice business at Smart & Final Stores Inc.
“Walt’s multi-disciplined logistics and supply chain career and commanding knowledge of the grocery industry from distribution, retailing and omnichannel commerce to manufacturing and merchandising are in direct alignment with SpartanNash’s supply chain optimization and strategic growth objectives,” Staples said in a statement. “His proven track record of achieving top-line sales growth and bottom-line cost savings with emerging innovative solutions, merchandising and marketing initiatives, and improved customer and associate satisfaction are reflective of Walt’s transformational leadership skills. We believe his expertise and energy to accelerate our strategic plan will be an asset to our organization.”
At Peapod, Lentz was tabbed as acting CEO in August 2017 in addition to his role as chief supply chain officer, which he had held since coming to the company in 2016. His career at Ahold began in 2009, when he joined the retailer as senior vice president of supply chain for Giant Food and later was promoted to senior vice president of supply chain logistics, planning and replenishment for Ahold USA Retail.
Before that, Lentz held a range of executive posts in a 12-year career at the Kellogg Co., most recently as vice president of network planning and supply chain effectiveness and vice president of North American logistics and distribution.
For the 2018 fiscal year ended Dec. 29, food distribution sales at Grand Rapids, Mich.-based SpartanNash totaled $3.99 billion, up 4.3% year over year. Overall company sales rose 1.3% to $8.06 billion.
Lentz’s hiring is one of several senior-level executive appointments made by SpartanNash over the past year. Former Albertsons executive Lori Raya joined the company in February as chief merchandising and marketing officer. A month earlier, Arif Dar was hired as chief information officer, coming over from SC Johnson & Son Inc., where he also served as CIO. And in late August, Tom Swanson was promoted to senior vice president and general manager of corporate retail, overseeing SpartanNash’s retail grocery business.