Longtime pharmaceutical distribution executive Erin Horvath has joined United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) as chief supply-chain transformation officer (CSCTO), a newly created position.
Providence, R.I.-based UNFI said Thursday that Horvath is slated to start at the company on Oct. 17. As CSCTO, she will report to CEO Sandy Douglas and be charged with working across corporate functions to help build UNFI’s transformation agenda and future capabilities, as well as enhance the experience for customers and suppliers.
More specifically, Horvath (pictured left) will oversee UNFI’s fulfillment network transformation and lead automation initiatives — including the grocery distributor’s recently announced automation partnership with Symbotic — in supporting long-term plans.
“UNFI has a tremendous history and foundation in place, coupled with an exciting growth roadmap that is both aggressive and achievable,” Horvath said in a statement. “The food industry, like many industries, is experiencing significant change. UNFI’s focus on and investment in advancing technologies and transforming operations is a testament to leadership’s commitment to a long-term strategy that will best support customers and suppliers within this evolving landscape.”
Horvath comes to UNFI after spending just over 17 years at $200 billion pharmaceutical and health care products distributor AmerisourceBergen, most recently serving as chief transformation officer, a role that also included strategy execution, growth acceleration, mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships and acceleration of high-growth, high-value subsidiaries.
UNFI noted that she also brings extensive experience from leading AmerisourceBergen’s distribution network, including roles such as president of distribution Services (2019-2021) and senior vice president of distribution services (2017-2019), which which she directed over 5,000 associates and managed more than 50 distribution centers.
During that time, UNFI said, Horvath, designed a five-year distribution and customer operations strategy, led the building of several new greenfield distribution centers, and created a diverse, cross-functional and geographically dispersed team to optimize warehouse automation. She also spent time in senior leadership roles overseeing replenishment, continuous improvement and commercial operations.
Before joining AmerisourceBergen, Horvath served as a management consultant at Smart and Associates, a business consulting firm, and at Arthur Andersen Business Consulting. She also gained foundational experience in distribution and operations at McMaster-Carr Supply Co. and the U.S. Department of the Navy as a contract specialist.
Horvath’s hiring comes about three months after UNFI announced a new leadership and organizational structure centered on four growth platforms — services, wholesale, retail and corporate/business transformation — linked to the distributor’s strategic priorities.
“As we work to be the most valuable partner to our grocery retailer customers, we must continue evolving our supply-chain network, leveraging automation, creating new efficiencies and capabilities within our facilities, and using technology, data and insights to improve our customer experience,” Douglas commented. “Erin has a wealth of experience, including a unique combination of strategy execution, operations, customer analytics and software implementation. Throughout her career, she has successfully worked across teams and departments, and I’m looking forward to seeing how her experience and fresh thinking can best support Mark Bushway, our chief supply-chain officer, and Louis Martin, our chief strategy and transformation officer, as they partner together to drive positive results.”
North America’s largest publicly traded grocery distributor, UNFI operates 56 distribution centers and supplies more than 30,000 retailers in the United States and Canada, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, e-commerce retailers and foodservice providers.