Supervalu Names Bly To Head Shoppers; New CEO Sales To Be Well Compensated

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Supervalu announced late last month that Robert Bly has joined the company as president of its 56 unit Shoppers Food & Pharmacy division based in Bowie, MD. Bly began his new job on August 22 and will report to Chuck Elias, senior VP of retail operations. Bly replaces Tim Lowe, who recently accepted a new leadership role in Supervalu’s merchandising organization. Lowe served as president of the Baltimore-Washington based regional chain since October 2010 when Dick Bergman retired.

“Bob is a welcome addition to the Shoppers and Supervalu team. His knowledge of grocery operations and improving company performance through proven business acumen will lead Shoppers to improving the bottom line while maintaining our customer experience,” Elias said.

Bly, 49, who most recently served as a vice president of Kmart and Sears divisions for the Sears Holdings Co., has significant experience in his career turning around underperforming retail operations and helping companies streamline operational costs while ensuring that team members are engaged in the business, Supervalu said in making the announcement. During his recent experience at Kmart and Sears, he worked on efforts to improve sales and profits while increasing productivity and efficiency. Prior to Sears, Bly held positions with Road Ranger, a convenience store chain, and spent 22 years with Meijer Inc., a grocery and general merchandise retailer where he held executive and store level positions and implemented strategic plans to improve sales, inventory management and operational execution.

“Bob’s experience in transforming companies makes him an excellent addition to our leadership team. We look forward to his contributions to Shoppers as we pursue our sales, profitability and growth objectives,” Elias said.

Bly’s appointment was one of the first made under the regime of new Supervalu’s chief executive Wayne Sales.

The Supervalu board named Sales CEO on July 30 following the firing of Craig Herkert (whose three year run as chief executive could only be described as horrific).

The former Canadian Tire Corp. CEO will face many daunting challenges as he attempts to repair and/or sell off pieces of what once was a powerful wholesale and retail organization. Sales’ link to Supervalu dates back to 2006 when he joined the company’s board of directors and for the past two years he has served as Supervalu’s non-executive chairman.

And the primary reason theEden Prairie,MNcompany has performed so dismally since it acquired five key operating divisions from Albertson in 2006 is that it continues to fail in almost every aspect of its core supermarket business: pricing, store conditions, morale of the associates and real estate.

Many trade observers believe that Sales’ primary objective will be to sell Supervalu, and the company’s announcement on July 11 that it had hired financial advisors Goldman Sachs and Greenhill & Co. to review Supervalu’s assets gave analysts more reason to believe that Supervalu is in full asset disposition mode.