MINNEAPOLIS — Supervalu Inc. has named Santiago Roces president and chief executive officer of its growing Save-A-Lot limited-assortment discount grocery chain.
Supervalu Inc. has named Santiago Roces president and chief executive officer of its growing Save-A-Lot limited-assortment discount grocery chain.
The supermarket retailer and wholesaler said Thursday that Roces, formerly senior vice president and general manager of Walmart’s small format division, succeeds Bill Shaner, who had been Save-A-Lot CEO since 2006.
"Santiago is a nice fit for our company and for Save-A-Lot," Supervalu president and CEO Craig Herkert said in a statement. "We believe he is the right individual to lead this organization forward and to help ensure we realize the aggressive growth plans that have been established."
With more than 20 years experience in the grocery and food industry, including experience in franchise development, the 48-year-old Roces brings a proven track record for growing sales and driving new market development, according to Supervalu.
Before becoming Walmart’s senior vice president of its small-format division, Roces held a variety of leadership positions at Walmart, including senior vice president of new business development and customer experience, president and CEO of Walmart Korea, and chief merchandising officer of Walmart Argentina. He also has held leadership positions at PepsiCo and Carrefour.
Roces, too, has demonstrated leadership in driving private-brand penetration and customer acceptance, a linchpin of the Save-A-Lot business model, which has nearly 80% of its products packaged under private label, Supervalu noted.
"I am very pleased that Roces has joined our team," Herkert stated. "He is a very talented leader with a wonderfully diverse business background. His leadership, energy, and enthusiasm will be critical as we continue our journey to open more than a 1,000 Save-A-Lot stores in the next several years."
Save-A-Lot is a pillar of the growth strategy that Supervalu unveiled at its annual investor meeting earlier this month. Plans call for the retailer to open 160 new Save-A-Lots in fiscal 2012 and to more than double the chain’s size to over 2,400 stores by the end of 2015.
Still, some industry analysts observed that the leadership change indicates that Save-A-Lot isn’t growing as swiftly as Supervalu has hoped.
"The change suggests that Save-A-Lot’s recent performance has failed to live up to management’s expectations," wrote Credit Suisse analyst Ed Kelly in a research note. "Mr. Roces seems to be a good addition, and we believe an opportunity to significantly expand this retail concept remains."