Perkins Named Acme President; Sweeping Changes At SVU, ABS Announced

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In the weeks before the consummation of the Cerberus-led deal to acquire Supervalu, now expected on March 21, the private equity firm has made key personnel changes at both its Albertsons LLC unit and at Supervalu.

Locally, Acme Markets will get a new division president when Jim Perkins takes the helm. Perkins, formerly vice president of operations for Albertsons Inc. and director of operations for Albertsons LLC’s Southern division, began his career at Albertsons in 1982. He most recently was a regional vice president with Giant/Landover. Current division president Sam Wyche will stay in place until the transaction closes.

Perkins will be part of the new management team that Albertsons LLC (AB Acquisitions Inc.) announced February 21 it has tapped to lead the new company, which is set to acquire 877 Supervalu stores (Acme, Shaw’s/Star Markets, Jewel-Osco and Albertsons) later this month.

In fact, several former Albertsons executives will be rejoining the new and expanded Albertsons LLC organization, which was created in 2006 after Cerberus acquired most of the remaining stores from Albertsons that Supervalu didn’t purchase. Currently Albertsons LLC operates 192 stores in the Southeast and Southwest.

In New England, Shane Sampson, another recent Giant/Landover alumnus (he was senior VP-operations), will take the helm Shaw’s and Star Markets in New England.  Sampson was formerly vice president of marketing and merchandising for the Albertsons LLC Southern division and started with Albertsons in 1983 and was a division president in the Intermountain and Florida divisions of Albertson’s Inc.

At Jewel/Osco in theChicagomarket, William Emmons will become division president. Formerly Southern division president of Albertsons LLC, Emmons is returning to the company following his retirement in October 2010. He began his career at Albertsons in 1971.

At the Albertsons divisions, the division presidents will be: Dennis Bassler in the Northwest division (he is currently an Albertsons district manager and was formerly SVP-merchandising/marketing for Albertsons Inc.); Susan Morris in the Intermountain division (she is currently SVP-marketing/merchandising for the Southwest division); Wayne Denningham in the Southern California division (currently Southern division president); Mike Withers at the Southern division (currently SVP-marketing/merchandising for the Southern division); and Shane Dorcheus at the Southwest division (the same position he currently holds).

The current division presidents will remain in place until the transaction closes. In addition to Wyche, they are: Dan Sanders at Albertsons SoCal; Mike Clawson at Albertsons Intermountain; Brian Huff at Jewel-Osco and Mike Stigers at Shaw’s/Star Market.

Bob Butler, currently executive vice president of operations for Albertsons LLC, will become chief operating officer with responsibility for all Albertsons banner stores. The Albertsons divisions will be operated by Albertsons LLC. Justin Dye, currently chief strategy officer, will be named chief operating officer, with responsibilities for the Acme, Jewel, and Shaw’s/Star Markets banners, and the total company pharmacy operation, which will be operated by New Albertsons, Inc. (NAI).

Albertsons LLC and NAI will both be operated by AB Acquisition Inc., which will be led by CEO Bob Miller. Rick Navarro, chief financial officer; Paul Rowan, general counsel; Andrew Scoggin, executive vice president of human resources and public affairs; and Mark Bates, chief information officer will oversee their respective functions at both Albertsons LLC and NAI.

Albertsons LLC also announced that it has named three more executives to its management team, all with Albertsons roots. Daniel Salemi is the new president of the company’s pharmacy division; Jerry Callahan has been promoted to VP-produce merchandising; and Amy Kirby has been named VP-marketing, a new corporate position.

Salemi was most recently with Supervalu and originally joined Osco Drug in 1980 and Callahan was produce sales manager for Albertsons LLC Southwest division. He joined Albertsons LLC in 2006. Albertsons LLC. Kirby had served as marketing director of the original Albertsons from 1994 until 2000, when she left to become a marketing partner in Ivie and Associates, Flower Mound, TX; and in 2006 when Albertsons LLC was formed, she became senior account director for the chain. Four years later she was named VP-sales and marketing, for Pangea, aDenver,COprint provider.

The company also announced the formation of a new Northwest division office, to be based inPortland,OR, that will manage operations for stores in northern Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

Supervalu announced on March 4 a number of changes to its executive and banner retail leadership teams, as the company said it continues preparations to move forward with a focus on serving wholesale grocery operators, growing its hard discount format and running a smaller, more efficient retail operation following the close of the previously announced transaction with AB Acquisition LLC. Supervalu also noted that there will be additional announcements in the coming weeks as new president and chief executive officer Sam Duncan continues to finalize his leadership team.

Heading the corporate changes at headquarters in Eden Prairie, MN is Mark Van Buskirk, who has been named executive VP-merchandising and marketing. He will be responsible for overseeing company wide retail merchandising and marketing efforts, along with directing Supervalu private brand offerings and retail pharmacy teams. He spent the past 20 years in leadership positions with Kroger, most recently serving as VP-meat and seafood merchandising and procurement.

Also being added to the corporate team is Rob Woseth, who has been named executive VP-chief strategy officer. In addition to overseeing real estate and corporate development, Woseth will focus on identifying strategic growth opportunities that support independent grocers, as well as working with banner leadership to build and maximize the company’s traditional and discount retail businesses. He spent the past 10 years in business development, strategy and leadership positions with Albertsons Inc. and Albertsons LLC.

Steve Fox has also joined Supervalu in the role of senior VP-food merchandising, reporting to Van Buskirk. He joins the organization after spending 41 years in retail leadership positions with Fred Meyer, a division of Kroger. During his tenure with Fred Meyer, Fox spent 10 years as VP-produce merchandising/procurement and 11 years as VP-grocery merchandising/procurement.

All three appointments are effective immediately.

At the divisional level, Duncan also announced a leadership change at the company’s hard discount retail chain, Save-A-Lot, appointing Ritchie Casteel as president and CEO, effective immediately. Casteel has more than 40 years of experience in retail, including over 30 years in a variety of leadership positions with the original Albertsons Inc, where he finished his tenure as VP-operations for Albertsons’ Intermountain West division. Casteel also served as director of sales and operations for Grocery Outlet from 2005-2009 where he worked closely with independent owner operators to improve sales, margin, shrink, marketing, expense controls and financial balance. Casteel replaces Santiago Roces who will remain with the company over the next several weeks to assist Casteel in ensuring a smooth and efficient transition.

Supervalu also  named new banner presidents while keeping some existing leaders at the company’s five regional banners – Cub Foods based in Minnesota; Hornbacher’s in North Dakota; Farm Fresh in Virginia; Shop ‘N Save in St. Louis; and Shoppers in Baltimore/Washington. Together these banners operate 191 traditional retail grocery stores and represent slightly more than 25 percent of the company’s anticipated revenues after the banner sale is complete. The five banner presidents will report directly to Duncan and serve on his leadership team.

Those new appointments include: Eric Hymas, who has been named president of Shop ‘N Save, replacing Marlene Gebhard, who will remain with the company over the next several weeks to assist Hymas in ensuring a smooth and efficient transition. Hymas most recently served as senior VP-merchandising for Supervalu which included responsibility for all categories across center store, as well as beverages, fuel and convenience, and fresh departments. Hymas has more than 30 years of experience in grocery retail having started his career in an Albertsons store in Idaho Falls, ID.

Continuing on as division presidents are: Bill Parker at Farm Fresh, who has served as interim president for the past seven months – his appointment is effective immediately; Brian Audette at Cub; Matt Leiseth at Hornbacher’s; and Bob Bly at Shoppers.

Supervalu also announced that several key corporate executives will be leaving the company including: Kevin Holt, president, Supervalu retail; Tim Lowe, executive VP-merchandising; and Michael Moore, executive VP-chief marketing officer.

Commenting on the announcement Duncan said, “We have much work to do, both today, and after the transaction closes, but I am pleased with the new leadership team we are assembling and know together we will work tirelessly to improve our business and increase shareholder value. I am energized by what I have seen every day and believe this company will be successful going forward.”