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SpartanNash tabs Lori Raya as merchandising and marketing chief

Former Albertsons executive to succeed retiring Larry Pierce

Lori Raya is joining SpartanNash Co. as chief merchandising and marketing officer, taking over from Larry Pierce, who is retiring.

SpartanNash said late Wednesday that Raya is scheduled to start in the CMMO post on Feb. 18. She comes to the company from Albertsons Cos., where she most recently served as Albertsons division president.

Plans call for Pierce, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing at SpartanNash, to transition his duties to Raya and focus on special projects until his retirement in September.

In the CMMO role, Raya (left) will oversee SpartanNash’s merchandising and marketing and ensure its alignment with business strategy. She also will provide strategic direction to develop, analyze and implement product assortment, brand positioning, sales planning, pricing, promotion, sourcing and distribution for independent grocery customers and 160 corporate-owned supermarkets.

Additionally, Raya will direct in-depth research and analysis of consumer trends and sales performance and spur innovation to enhance the in-store and online customer experience. She will report to SpartanNash President and CEO David Staples.

Raya’s career at Safeway/Albertsons spanned 31 years. She was division president of Albertsons from 2015 to 2018 after holding the post of Vons division president from 2012 to 2015 — the first woman to serve as a division president in the grocery chain’s 107-year history. At Safeway, she started as a store associate and rose through the ranks to store manager, district manager, vice president of retail operations, group vice president of strategic initiatives, and various food category senior management positions.

As Albertsons division president, Raya led the post-merger transition with Safeway and the integration of multiple banner teams. The merger, completed in January 2015, formed the nation’s second-largest supermarket retailer, with more than 2,200 stores and 250,000 employees.

“Lori’s success as a strategic thinker, collaborative influencer, change manager, community contributor and visionary leader has enabled her to lead marketing and merchandising teams to deliver innovative, customer-focused changes while driving sales and supporting associate development,” Staples said in a statement. “Her career path is also inspiring to all those who love this industry and want to help take the company to the next level. We look forward to having her onboard.”

Food and beverage industry veteran Pierce (left) joined SpartanNash in 2008 as vice president of center store merchandising. He was named executive vice president of merchandising and marketing on an interim basis in August 2013 before being appointed to the post full-time in July 2014.

Prior to SpartanNash, Pierce served in a variety positions at Coca-Cola Enterprises, including as vice president of sales for the supermarket, mass and convenience channels.

“Larry’s leadership, knowledge of the wholesale and grocery industry, and commitment to innovation have been key to our success, and we appreciate his assistance throughout this transitional period,” said Staples.

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