A leadership change is in the works at Ahold Delhaize USA’s The Giant Company, parent of the Giant, Martin’s and Giant Heirloom Market grocery retail banners.
Carlisle, Pa.-based Giant said Wednesday that President Nicholas Bertram is leaving the regional grocer on Aug. 31 to “pursue new opportunities.” John Ruane, senior vice president, chief merchant and chief commercial officer, will serve as interim president “until a successor is named,” according to the company.
Bertram (pictured left) has served as Giant’s president since January 2018, when he succeeded Tom Lenkevich, who retired after four years in the post. Before that, Bertram was senior vice president of merchandising for Ahold USA, which operated Giant-Carlisle, Giant-Landover and Stop & Shop before Royal Ahold and Delhaize Group completed their merger in July 2016.
“We have been fortunate to have Nick lead The Giant Company during his nine-year tenure,” Ahold Delhaize USA President Kevin Holt said in a statement. “His leadership has inspired very strong performance by the team. The Giant Company has achieved a great deal of success, with growth in its local markets, innovation in operations and a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as health and sustainability. We remain confident in the continued momentum of the brand and wish Nick all the best in the future.”
Bertram had brought 17 years of retail experience when he joined Giant in 2018, including more than 11 years at Walmart U.S., most recently as a regional general manager, and a year at Jewel-Osco, where he served as senior vice president of retail operations. He’s also a former senior vice president at Supervalu, now part of United Natural Foods Inc.
During Bertram’s tenure, Giant has expanded across its home market of Pennsylvania, namely in the Philadelphia market; launched the Giant Heirloom Market small-format banner; rolled out the Giant Direct and Martin’s Direct e-commerce brands for online grocery pickup and delivery; launched the Choice Rewards loyalty program; introduced “For Today’s Table” as Giant’s brand tagline; and changed the company name to The Giant Company from Giant Food Stores.
Bertram also was president when Supermarket News named Giant as its Retailer of the Year for 2019. He also currently serves as an independent director on the board of PECO Energy Co., Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas utility, with a focus on clean energy.
“Leading The Giant Company to be designed for the way families live now has been a great honor, and I am excited about the growing momentum of our purpose-led teammates,” Bertram commented. “That, along with the strength of our leadership team, makes now the most natural time for me to step away. I have great confidence in John and believe that The Giant Company’s best days are still to come.”
Ruane (pictured left) in late July had been named senior vice president of commercial in an expansion of his responsibilities in marketing and commercial planning, and as chief merchandising officer. He joined Giant as senior vice president and chief merchant in January 2018 after over five years as senior vice president of fresh merchandising and supply chain at Ahold USA/Ahold Delhaize.
Before that, Ruane spent over a year as vice president of sales and merchandising at Stop & Shop’s New York division, which marked his debut at Ahold USA. He came to the company after nearly two-and-a-half years at A&P, most recently as vice president of sales and merchandising, and more than 27 years at Pathmark Stores, most recently as senior vice president of merchandising. He started his career in the grocery industry at age 14 at a Foodtown store in New Jersey.
“I’m honored to serve as interim president,” Ruane stated. “I look forward to continuing to serve our customers and communities and delivering on our purpose and passion of meeting today’s customers' needs.”
Part of Ahold Delhaize USA, The Giant Company has more than 35,000 employees and operates 192 grocery stores under the Giant, Martin’s and Giant Heirloom Market banners in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Its retail operations also include 133 pharmacies, 107 fuel stations, and more than 175 online pickup hubs and grocery delivery in hundreds of ZIP codes, with e-commerce service also serving communities in New Jersey.