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Supervalu restructures executive team
August 29th, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS – Supervalu Inc. has revamped its executive leadership a month after naming a new chief executive officer and amid reports that the company is seeking a buyer.
The struggling supermarket retailer said Wednesday that Kevin Holt has taken on an expanded role as president of Supervalu Retail. In that post, he will oversee strategy for the traditional retail and pharmacy divisions, including directing the marketing and merchandising functions.
Plans call for Holt to work closely with Supervalu chairman, president and CEO Wayne Sales and his leadership team to develop the company's strategic platform.
Holt joined Supervalu in May from Hudsonville Ice Cream and Kilwin's Quality Confections in Michigan, where he was the president. Before that, he spent three years with Sears Holding Co. and 13 years with Meijer, working in leadership positions in retail, information technology and strategic planning.
With the change, Supervalu executive vice president and chief marketing officer Michael Moore will now report to Holt, as will Tim Lowe, who has been promoted to executive vice president of merchandising. Lowe most recently served as Supervalu's senior vice president of merchandising and was also president of the Shoppers Food & Pharmacy division from 2010 to 2012.
In addition, Janel Haugarth has been named to the newly created position of executive vice president for business optimization and process improvement. Supervalu said Haugarth, who has been with the company for 35 years, will be responsible for identifying and executing strategies to make the company a more streamlined, effective organization.
In tandem with the shift of Haugarth's focus to enterprisewide optimization, Supervalu said it will consolidate logistics and procurement leadership under Fred Boehler, who will now report directly to Sales as the senior vice president of supply chain.
"We are moving quickly to reinvigorate Supervalu, and that starts with leadership," Sales said in a statement. "The changes I have made to my executive team are designed to address two of our most immediate priorities: driving profitable sales in our retail stores and taking costs out of the business. These efforts are critical to our successful turnaround."
Sales was appointed as Supervalu's CEO in late July when the company ousted Craig Herkert, who had been chief executive since May 2009.
"The team we have in place includes exceptional leaders whose combined experience will help lead us through the revitalization of our business," Sales added. "I believe this new leadership alignment will allow us to act quickly, efficiently and effectively to drive the successful turnaround of Supervalu."
Earlier this week, news reports surfaced that Supervalu is asking potential buyers of parts of its business to consider bidding for the entire company. A report by the Bloomberg news service said that possible suitors had been identified for the retailer's Albertsons and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy chains.
Supervalu had announced in July that it is exploring options for overhauling its operations, including the sale of one or more of its divisions. Finding a buyer for the entire company, which has $6.14 billion in net debt and $1.05 billion in pension obligations, could be difficult.
Overall, Supervalu has annual sales of about $35 billion and about 4,400 supermarkets, including 1,101 traditional grocery stores (including 798 in-store pharmacies), 1,336 Save-A-Lot hard discount stores, (939 operated by licensee owners) and 1,950 independent stores served mainly by the company's food distribution business.