Claus brings more than three decades of retail experience to the job, which he will assume on or before January 4, Supervalu noted.
On the date Claus assumes his new role, Ritchie Casteel will become president of Save-A-Lot, reporting to Claus, Supervalu said in a statement.
Claus, 59, has spent the past two-plus years as chairman, president and CEO of Red Apple Stores Inc., a chain of value retail stores based in Mississauga, Ontario.
“I’m very pleased that Eric is joining our Supervalu team to serve as CEO of Save-A-Lot,” remarked Sam Duncan, Supervalu president and CEO. “He has a great background in food retailing and is a smart and charismatic leader. His strengths in and experience with the hard discount format as well as his history leading retail companies will be important as we look to finish our fiscal year strong, and as we continue to position Save-A-Lot for the future.”
Claus gained experience in hard discount and grocery retail in the United States and Canada. He has served as CEO for Co-Op Atlantic, president and CEO of A&P, first in the Canadian division and then overseeing the U.S. operations between 2005 and 2009. Claus has also served as an adviser to private equity firms in the retail and packaged goods sectors.
Supervalu is reportedly considering a spinoff of Save-A-Lot, which is headquartered in St. Louis and oversees a chain of 1,342 stores, about 900 of which are operated by licensee owners. The business also operates 17 distribution centers.
Jerry Storch, non-executive chairman at Supervalu, said directors are eager to work with Claus.
“The Supervalu board of directors is looking forward to Eric adding his strategic and long-term planning capabilities to the company and working together on our continued exploration of a potential separation of Save-A-Lot,” Storch commented.