Supervalu-Cerberus Deal Done; 1,100 Jobs Will Be Eliminated

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“It was a priority for me to keep Janel with the organization going forward,” said Duncan. “She is highly respected by our independent retailers and her experience and leadership ensures stability as we continue to help these important stakeholders grow and prosper.”

Joining the new Supervalu and reporting to Haugarth will be industry veteran Mike Stigers as the new president of the company’s Northern Region. He succeeds Jim Gilliam, who is leaving to pursue a business opportunity. Stigers, who previously had been president of Shaw’s (now part of AB Acquisitions LLC) will oversee sales and operations at six distribution centers serving more than 750 independent retailers in Central, Northern and Western states. His territory also includes Alaska and Guam. Stigers has 39 years of grocery experience and held a variety of management positions at Safeway, Jons Markets in Los Angeles and PW Supermarkets in San Jose, CA, before his most recent position as president of the Shaw’s banner. Stigers also has worked on the vendor side of the industry, for Bass Inc., a retail automation software company, and for Sterilox Fresh, a food safety company, as regional VP.

“Mike brings tremendous experience to his position as president of the Northern Region,” Haugarth said. “As the company begins a new chapter, I am very confident that Mike will not only help our current independent customers in the region expand and grow, but that he will bring in new customers as well.” Supervalu said Gilliam will remain at the company for the next few weeks to ensure a smooth transition.

In addition, Supervalu also said that Bob Jaskolski has been named vice president of sales, merchandising and marketing for the independent business division, effective immediately. He was formerly executive vice president in the independent business division. He is a 27-year Supervalu veteran. Supervalu said Haugarth plans to add a vice president of corporate logistics to her team in the near future. The balance of her direct leadership team will remain the same, including: Kevin Kemp, president of the Eastern Region; Bill Chew, president of the Midwest Region; and Bernie Grutsch, VP of procurement.

Other new key senior management appointments include Randy Burdick, who has been named executive VP-chief information officer for the company, effective March 25. In this role, Burdick is responsible for Supervalu’s information technology infrastructure and personnel, as well as the shared service/contact center organization. He joins Supervalu after spending the past eight years as chief information officer at OfficeMax.
Burdick has more than 28 years in a variety of technology leadership positions, including experience as group information officer for Hewlett-Packard and chief information officer at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). He began his career as an automation engineer at Harris Semiconductor. Burdick replaces Kathy Persian, senior VP-chief information officer, who will leave the company. Persian has served in her current role since Sept. 2012 and previously held the positions of group VP-corporate planning, analysis and business process, finance, and group VP-retail and merchandising systems, IT, with the company.

Another veteran Supervalu executive (26 years with the company) in line to receive a large severance ($3.51 million) is CFO Sherry Smith. However, unlike Haugarth, Smith will be leaving SVU next month. The company will name a new chief financial officer at a later date. Additionally, Karla Robertson has been promoted to executive VP for legal, effective immediately. She replaces Todd Sheldon, executive VP, general counsel and corporate secretary, who will stay through May to assist the company in the completion of its fiscal 2013 year-end filings. At that time, Robertson will assume the additional roles and responsibilities held by Sheldon, including the title of executive VP, general counsel and corporate secretary. In this role, Robertson will have responsibility for overseeing the legal, risk management and asset protection teams for the company as well as working closely with Robert Miller, and the company’s 11-person board of directors. Robertson joined Supervalu in July 2009 as senior labor and employment counsel and was later promoted to VP-employment, compensation and benefits law functions.

Michele Murphy has been named executive VP-human resources and corporate communications for the company, effective March 25. In this role, Murphy oversees all of Supervalu’s human resources functions, labor relations and corporate communications. She has spent the last seven years as Supervalu’s senior VP-corporate human resources and labor relations.

Murphy has more than 30 years of experience in a variety of positions dealing with employment law, human resources and labor relations. She has served in roles with international law firm Morgan Lewis, grocery store operator American Stores and roles of increasing responsibility at Albertsons and Supervalu. Murphy replaces Dave Pylipow, executive VP-human resources and corporate communications, who will leave the company at the end of April. Pylipow has served in his current role since 2006, and previously held the position of VP-human resources at Save-A-Lot.

With the transaction completed, J. Andrew Herring, executive VP-real estate, market development and legal, will depart the company. Herring joined Supervalu in February 1998 as VP-corporate development and external relations and was promoted to senior VP in 1999. He has held numerous positions during his career at the company, including management of its in-store pharmacy business from 2002 to 2006. Herring has served in his current role since 2010, during which time he was responsible for real estate, mergers and acquisitions and legal. He is also entitled to receive a severance package that could be worth as much as $2.82 million.

Commenting on the departures, Duncan said, “Andy played a critical role in structuring the deal with AB Acquisition LLC and in overseeing much of the important work necessary to complete the transaction. I appreciate his leadership and many contributions to the company over the past 15 years.”
“I would also like to personally thank Dave and Kathy for their contributions to the company. Dave has been an integral member of Supervalu for 15 years and of the executive team for the last seven. He has worked tirelessly since the transaction announcement to assist me in building our new organization,” said Duncan.

Duncan continued, “During her tenure, Kathy has completed a tremendous amount of work in finance, especially her leadership of our organizational efficiency initiative, and technology, including her leadership of improved tools and processes supporting our retail businesses. I wish Andy, Dave and Kathy all the best with their future endeavors.”

In related Supervalu news, several independent retailers informed us that the company plans to form an advisory council comprised of independent retailers it supplies that will meet approximately quarterly to discuss issues relevant to those retailers and the independent community in general.

And just before presstime, in an SEC filing (SC13G) it was revealed that hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors, led by high-profile investor Steve Cohen increased its stake in Supervalu to 5.1 percent. Cohen now owns 10.79 million shares (he owned only about 25,000 shares at the beginning of the year). At the close of business Supervalu was trading at $4.69 per share.

Also of note is the upcoming release of Supervalu’s fourth quarter and year end 2013 financials on April 24.