Wakefern appoints two to C-suite posts

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KEASBEY, N.J. – Wakefern Food Corp. has named Neil Falcone chief financial officer and Karen Meleta chief communications officer.

Falcone, formerly vice president of ShopRite Financial Services (SFS) and corporate finance, replaces Doug Wille, who retired recently after 43 years with the company. Meleta, Wakefern’s vice president of consumer and corporate communications for 13 years, is the first to be named chief communications officer for the company.

WakefernFalcone started his Wakefern career at Price Rite Marketplace in 2007 before being promoted to Director of ShopRite Financial Services. He was promoted to vice president of SFS and Corporate Finance in 2015. Before joining Wakefern, Falcone held leadership positions with Waldbaum’s, A&P and Levitz Furniture. He received his bachelor’s degree from Dowling College School of Business in New York and lives on Long Island with his wife Julie and three children.

He brings significant retail experience to his new role as CFO at Wakefern, where he is helping chart the course for the cooperative’s long-term financial growth and success. Falcone and his Finance team are developing the important tools and technology necessary to deliver leading financial services and analysis for Wakefern members and supermarket banners.

In her new role, Meleta will continue to oversee all aspects of Wakefern’s communications, public relations and reputation management. She also drives stakeholder messaging across internal communications, public policy, sustainability, corporate philanthropy, media relations, crisis communications and government affairs. Meleta has spearheaded company sustainability efforts, with special focus on developing programs to reduce food waste at retail as well as creating seafood sustainability and animal welfare guidelines.

Another key initiative under her guidance is ShopRite Partners In Caring, ShopRite and Wakefern’s signature hunger-fighting initiative, and she has helped raise the profile of that important program over the years through innovative and impactful cause marketing campaigns.

Meleta has been with Wakefern Food Corp. for more 20 years. Prior to joining Wakefern, she was a communications consultant to Fortune 500 companies including Unilever, Parke-Davis, Lancome and the Home Shopping Network. She also spent nearly a decade at Avon Products, Inc. She received a bachelor’s degree from New York University and holds an MBA from Rutgers University. Ms. Meleta resides in Gillette, New Jersey with her husband Robert and their two sons.

Wakefern is the nation’s largest retailer-owned cooperative with member companies that own and operate supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners.


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