JOLIET, Ill. — Central Grocers here on Monday said that its president and chief executive officer, Jim Denges, would retire next month after 35 years with the company.

Jim Denges“After three and a half decades of commitment to Central Grocers, our members, and our stores, I could not be more pleased with where our company stands today,” said Denges in a statement. “We have experienced sustained growth and established exceptional operating efficiencies across our facilities. I am confident that I am leaving Central Grocers well situated for continued success as we near our second century of service.”

Ken NemethThe cooperative’s board of directors has selected Ken Nemeth to succeed Denges. Nemeth joined Central Grocers as executive vice president and chief operating officer in March of 2012 after serving as president and CEO of Valu Merchandisers Co., a subsidiary of Associated Wholesale Grocers, in Kansas City, Kan.

The leadership transition will coincide with the end of Central Grocer’s fiscal year on Aug. 4. Denges will remain a consultant to the board of directors.

Denges had succeeded Joe Caccamo as president and CEO of Central Grocers in August of 2007. Through a series of acquisitions, facilities expansion, and operations improvements, sales have grown over 60% during Denges’s tenure as CEO.

Founded in 1917, Central Grocers has grown to become the nation’s 7th largest grocery cooperative, with consolidated annual sales of more than $2 billion. Central Grocers supplies more than 500 retail stores in the Midwest.

Read more: Denges' outlook for the second half of 2013

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