Supervalu on Wednesday said it has appointed former C&S Wholesale Grocers executive Mark Gross as its president and CEO, replacing Sam Duncan, who previously announced his retirement.
Gross, 52, will assume leadership of the Minneapolis-based distributor Feb. 5.
“Mark is a talented, strategic and results-driven leader with a wealth of industry experience,” Jerry Storch, Supervalu's non-executive chairman, said in a statement.
“We are extremely pleased that Mark will be leading Supervalu and we look forward to working with him to drive the company’s performance.”
“I am thrilled to join Supervalu,” Gross said. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to help take the company to the next level and to work with the board and management team to set the strategic path for the future. I look forward to working with our great customers and the talented group of employees in this company, including working with Eric Claus as Supervalu continues to explore and prepare for a potential spin-off of Save-A-Lot.”
Supervalu also announced that Duncan will be stepping down from the company’s 11-person board effective with his retirement on Feb. 29. Until that time, he will continue as a special advisor to the board to facilitate a smooth transition. Gross will be appointed to the board effective March 1. Bruce Besanko, COO, will report to Gross and continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of the company’s independent business and retail food segments as well as its finance organization.
From 1997 to 2006, Gross worked at C&S Wholesale Grocers, including serving as co-president of C&S’s overall operations from 2005-2006. Additionally, during his tenure with C&S, Gross served as CFO, general counsel, and president of its affiliated retail grocery operations.
Gross left C&S and founded an investment firm, Surrey Investment Advisors, that facilitated numerous transactions in the industry, including the sale of Piggy Wiggly Carolina in 2013. He also consulted with private equity firms with respect to investments in food retail, distribution and consumer packaged goods sectors.
Gross joins Supervalu as it contemplates the spinoff of its discount grocery chain Save-A-Lot while working to improve performance of its grocery distribution and retail store businesses. The company filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission in January that proposed a spin-off of Save-A-Lot into a separate public company controlled by Supervalu's existing shareholders.
Supervalu operates the retail banners Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbachers, Shop n' Save and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy. The company's distribution arm serves 1,900 independent grocers. Including Save-A-Lot, Supervalu generates about $18 billion in annual sales.
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