Before Deal Closes: Sales Out, Duncan Named Supervalu CEO

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Apparently Wayne Sales couldn’t even wait around for the Cerberus/Supervalu deal to be consummated. On February 4, the Eden Prairie, MN-based retailer/wholesaler announced that that Sam Duncan has assumed the president and CEO titles, effective immediately. Supervalu had previously announced that Duncan would make that move upon the closing of the transaction.

“Sam is a talented and respected executive with a wealth of industry experience,” said Sales, who will collect $12.8 million for what amounts to seven months of heading Supervalu’s effort to sell the company “The board decided to install Sam as president and chief executive officer before the completion of our previously announced transaction so he can start refining and, where appropriate, implement plans for the business. I fully support this decision and look forward to working with Sam to ensure a smooth transition.”

Commenting on his appointment Duncan noted, “Following January’s announcement, I have visited stores, spoken with many of our independent retailers and Save-a-Lot licensees, and met many team members. These activities have reinforced my belief that Supervalu has a bright future; and I’m excited to start putting in place plans to improve our results and increase shareholder value.”

Duncan, 61, most recently served from 2005-2011 as chairman, CEO and president of OfficeMax. Prior to joining OfficeMax, Duncan served from 2002-2005 as president and CEO of ShopKo Stores and has spent most of his 40 career in the grocery industry with with Albertsons and Kroger.

Sales, who had served in those roles for Supervalu since he and other board members relieved Craig Herkert of those duties in July 2012, will continue to serve as executive chairman and will have oversight over the completion of the transaction. At the closing of the transaction, Robert Miller, current president and CEO of Albertsons LLC, will become Supervalu’s non-executive chairman.

The deal is scheduled to close during the week of March 18 after a tender offer for up to 30 percent of Supervalu’s outstanding common stock at a purchase price of $4.00 per share in cash is completed.

The Symphony/Supervalu deal is part of a larger transaction that affects the five operating divisions and 877 supermarkets that Cerberus (Albertsons LLC) acquired from Albertson in June, 2006. Those banners (Albertsons, Acme, Jewel and Shaw’s) will become part of a new company, AB Acquisition LLC, comprised of 192 existing Albertson Markets and those additional 877 units.