MINNEAPOLIS — Supervalu here said it has reorganized its merchandising operations, giving sole responsibility for merchandising at all corporate and independent retail formats except Save-A-Lot to one executive — Janel Haugarth.
Haugarth, formerly executive vice president and president and chief operating officer of Supervalu's supply chain services organization, will retain her supply chain responsibilities while adding retail with the title of EVP, merchandising and logistics. Steve Jungmann, who was EVP, merchandising, for the retail stores, has left the company.
Jungmann, a veteran of the CPG industry, had only been on the job for about a year.
“When Steve Jungmann was hired, it was really a no-win situation,” said Jose Tamez, managing partner in the Denver office of executive search firm Austin-Michael. “That had to do with the difficult situation the company was in, and it also had to do with his lack of retail experience. When he was hired it was understood he would need time to learn the business, and the problem was, they didn't have time for on-the-job training.”
Expanding Haugarth's role, he said, makes sense in many ways.
“It's not a good time to go on a massive search and try to bring someone in from the outside. What they need right now is continuity and stability in their management team, plus I think legacy is important. Janel has that — she has been there a long time, and she is well-liked and well-respected, and is a connection to the past for the many people that have several years with the company.”
The consolidation is part of an effort by Supervalu to do a better job of leveraging its merchandising initiatives as a single company, Craig Herkert, president and chief executive officer, said last week.
“Consolidating all merchandising efforts under one leader is a natural progression in our move to lower our cost of goods and get our fair share of promotional funds,” he said. “This is not a change in our strategy but a tactical move to accelerate our ability to leverage our scale in negotiating with suppliers.”
Toward that end, Supervalu plans to host a vendor summit later this month with its top 400 suppliers “to establish winning partnerships that allow us to offer more appropriate retail prices that move more units,” Herkert said.
Supervalu has “probably been too reliant on pay-for-performance allowances,” he added, “and she and I agree that the big challenge is moving away from that kind of performance. Certainly that will be a big discussion for our meeting later this month.”
Haugarth, who has been with Supervalu for more than 30 years, has been overseeing supply chain services since 2006.
“Janel's experience working closely with both suppliers and independent retailers gives her a unique point of view in our industry,” Herkert noted. “She has a deep understanding of what it means to be a successful hyper-local retailer, and her leadership will be critical to helping Supervalu realize its vision to become America's neighborhood grocer.”