United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) has promoted Matt Whitney to chief strategy and innovation officer effective immediately, the grocery wholesaler announced Wednesday.
In this new role, Whitney will be responsible for leading the company’s Professional Services and eCommerce business units while also developing new business models, pursuing innovation opportunities and implementing several ongoing strategic initiatives to complement UNFI’s base wholesale business.
Whitney (left) joined UNFI in early 2020 as senior vice president of sales strategy and business transformation leading the company’s Value Path initiative, a cross-functional effort to identify sales growth, product efficiencies and cost-containment opportunities.
Prior to joining UNFI, Whitney was the corporate vice president of field transformation at Sysco, where he also served as EVP of the Boston division, and head of the integration management office for Sysco’s proposed acquisition of US Foods. Earlier in his career, Whitney worked in strategy consulting and mergers & acquisitions. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University, and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.
“UNFI is focused on innovation and finding new ways to support our customers beyond a traditional distribution model,” said Chris Testa, UNFI President. “Our Professional Services and e-commerce teams are two critical growth vehicles that help make our customers stronger, more differentiated, and under Matt’s leadership these teams will help them continue to grow and flourish. His cross-functional leadership, business acumen and strong strategic thinking will help us deliver results and ensure we are best positioned for future growth.”
The nation’s largest publicly traded grocery distributor, UNFI supplies more than 250,000 items to 30,000 retailers in the United States and Canada, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, e-commerce retailers and foodservice providers.