AFTER ONE YEAR AT THE HELM, Supervalu Chief Executive Officer Craig Herkert said he finally has his top executive team in place.
During a 12-month period that saw the departure of several high-level executives — including the heads of its Acme and Farm Fresh divisions — Herkert said he had all the pieces in place to implement his vision for the company.
“I now have the right people in the right jobs, each with a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities,” Herkert said in a recent conference call discussing fiscal year-end financial results.
The addition of Steve Jungmann, executive vice president of merchandising, has been key to the company's effort to centralize merchandising. He joined the company in February from Solo Cup Co., Highland Park, Ill., and had previously spent 20 years with Kraft Foods.
“Steve's drive and leadership have already been felt throughout the organization, and we are reshaping the way that we work with our suppliers as well as with our vendors,” Herkert said of Jungmann. He noted that although Jungmann does not have retail experience, he has a team of longtime retail veterans from within the company's ranks supporting him.
Jungmann succeeded Duncan Mac Naughton, who as executive vice president of merchandising and marketing had been coordinating the centralization of those functions before he left last October to join Walmart Canada.
Stepping in as chief marketing officer in March was Julie Dexter Berg, who had her own branding consultancy and previously had worked as a consultant for Supervalu. She succeeded Steve Michaelson, the former FreshDirect executive who had filled the CMO post since mid-2008.
“She is a true ‘marketeer’ and has a long career forging strong customer connections, improving brand health and driving improvements in operations performance,” Herkert said of Berg. “She lives and breathes marketing, and we need that at our company. She will bring some energy and enthusiasm to our marketing department.”
Before launching her own firm, called Brandmaking, Berg had been chief marketing officer for telecom giant MediaOne in Denver and previous had some CPG marketing experience.
The most recent major new hire at the company was Wayne Shurtz as executive vice president and chief information officer, a position that had been filled on an interim basis for almost a year. Shurtz most recently had been CIO at candy giant Cadbury and previously had held various positions with Nestlé.
“His contributions will allow Supervalu to gain the functionality of state-of-the-art marketing and merchandising systems and move us to a fully centralized technology platform,” Herkert said of Shurtz during the company's latest earnings conference call.
Other recent high-level hires at Supervalu have included:
Dan Sanders, who was named president at the Acme chain, succeeding Judith Spires, who left to join Kings Super Markets, Parsippany, N.J. Sanders had previously been CEO of United Supermarkets, Lubbock, Texas.
Gaelo de la Fuente, who was named president of the Farm Fresh chain in Virginia, succeeding Ron Dennis, who retired. De la Fuente most recently was group vice president of retail operations support for Supervalu and previously was with Food Lion and sister chain Hannaford Bros.
Keith Wyche was named president of Supervalu's Cub Foods division, succeeding Brian Huff, who had previously been promoted to senior vice president of specialty retail at Supervalu. Wyche most recently was president of U.S. operations for Pitney Bowes' Pitney Management Services division.
Chuck Elias was named group vice president, strategic planning. Elias has held leadership positions at Home Depot and General Electric, Supervalu said.