SN's Power 50 have one thing in common. Each individual profiled on the pages that follow is transforming in some way, shape or form the food distribution industry. SN editors pick each year's power players based upon input from the industry, and carefully weigh the influence and contributions of each nominee.
who heads Supervalu, quickly ascends to the No. 2 spot, after securing a large piece of Albertsons. Enter Robert Miller, new on the list at No. 15. He heads a new entity, Albertsons LLC, owned by Cerberus Capital Management and other investors, which also bought a large part of Albertsons.
Besides Miller, there are 14 other individuals and two influential entities - the U.S. media at No. 41, and the new private investor at No. 45 - that are new on this year's list.
In addition to Johnston, 16 others fell off the list, including Roger Deromedi of Kraft, who resigned in June, and was immediately succeeded by Frito-Lay chief Irene Rosenfeld, new at No. 28, and John Tyson, who stepped down as CEO of Tyson Foods, but remains the company's chairman. In turn, Tyson's president, Richard Bond, added CEO to his title and won a slot as a new player at No. 30.
Two-thirds of those listed remain from last year. Many of these players are deeply entrenched in the food industry either through family roots or by serving long, hard years in the trenches, and climbing up through the ranks.
Wal-Mart's H. Lee Scott, who leads the global company that is the No. 1 food retailer in the United States, and Tom Zaucha, who heads the National Grocers Association, which represents independent retailers, are diametrically opposed on the list at No. 1 and No. 50, respectively. Such polar opposites create an interestingly charged field. Many independents have reinvented themselves - often because of Wal-Mart - to become an important industry force by offering unique shopping experiences.
The decisions and actions taken by the Power 50 leaders can have dramatic impact on what we eat, as well as how and where we shop for food. It is hoped, the American consumer, which takes a respite on this year's list, will be better served in the food arena by this year's Power 50.