After more than a yearlong search, SpartanNash has named former Borden Dairy CEO Tony Sarsam as president and CEO.
Plans call for Sarsam to start in the role and join the board of directors on Sept. 21, SpartanNash said Monday. He will take the reins from Chairman Dennis Eidson, who has served as interim president and CEO since the resignation of David Staples in August 2019.
Sarsam’s hiring comes a month after SpartanNash extended Eidson’s agreement to serve as interim CEO by up to an additional 90 days. The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based grocery distributor and retailer said Eidson will continue in his role as chairman and then serve as executive chairman for 30 days to assist in Sarsam’s transition to CEO.
“SpartanNash’s board of directors has conducted an extensive search over the past year, and we are extremely confident we have recruited an exceptional leader to continue the legacy of our company as a trusted provider of grocery products,” Eidson said in a statement. “Not only does Tony possess the background and expertise to lead SpartanNash in the coming years, his core values and history of visionary thinking and strategic execution are in direct alignment to achieve our vision to be a best-in-class business that feels local, where relationships matter.”
Most recently, Sarsam (left) spent more than two years at Borden Dairy as CEO. He departed Borden in July following the Dallas-based company’s Chapter 11 reorganization and subsequent sale to Capitol Peak Partners and KKR, which named former Dean Foods and WhiteWave Foods CEO Gregg Engles as CEO of the new Borden entity.
SpartanNash noted that Sarsam brings a strong blend of food industry experience to the company, including on both the consumer products and supply chain sides.
Before joining Borden in March 2018, he served as CEO of Ready Pac Foods, where he generated a 60% revenue increase in four-and-a-half years at the company. Prior to that, he spent three years as president of Nestlé USA’s direct-store delivery company, overseeing a $4.5 billion pizza and ice cream business. Sarsam came to Nestlé after more than four years at Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream in executive vice president of sales and operations roles. Before that, he served in a range of posts over 20 years at food and beverage giant PepsiCo, most recently as vice president of go-to-market strategy at the Frito-Lay business unit.
“I am honored and humbled to be selected to lead this incredible organization,” Sarsam commented on his new role at SpartanNash. “I think of SpartanNash as over 100 years young, with a rich history and a promising future. I am looking forward to working with our 19,000 dedicated associates to further strengthen our company and extend our success well into the future.”
Eidson (left) has been at SpartanNash for 17 years, serving as chairman since June 2016 and previously as CEO from October 2008 to May 2017. He also has held the titles of president (2007 to 2016), chief operating officer (2007 to 2008) and executive vice president of marketing and merchandising (2003 to 2007).
“On behalf of our board, the SpartanNash executive leadership team, and the company’s family of 19,000 associates, we’d like to thank Dennis for his leadership and commitment to the company since he joined SpartanNash in 2003, and particularly these past thirteen months serving in his interim role,” stated Lead Independent Director Doug Hacker. “The board is confident that we have found an exemplary successor to Dennis in Tony Sarsam, and we look forward to a bright future for SpartanNash.”
Currently, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based SpartanNash operates 155 corporate-owned grocery stores in the Midwest, mainly under the Family Fare, Martin’s Super Markets, D&W Fresh Market, VG’s Grocery and Dan’s Supermarket banners.