Supervalu said Wednesday that Gross takes the CEO reins effective Feb. 5 and will succeed Sam Duncan, who is retiring at the end of this month. Gross also will join the company’s board on March 1.
“I am thrilled to join Supervalu,” Gross said in a statement. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to help take the company to the next level and to work with the board and management team to set the strategic path for the future. I look forward to working with our great customers and the talented group of employees in this company, including working with Eric Claus as Supervalu continues to explore and prepare for a potential spin-off of Save-A-Lot.” Supervalu last month filed plans with regulators to spin off its hard-discount division Save-A-Lot as a public company.
Gross has more than two decades of experience in the grocery and wholesale industries. For the past 10 years, he has led Surry Investment Advisors, a firm he founded to provide consulting services to grocery distributors and retailers.
From 1997 to 2006, Gross worked at C&S Wholesale Grocers, including a two-year stint as co-president. He also worked as the company’s chief financial officer, general counsel and president of affiliated retail grocery operations.
“Mark is a talented, strategic and results-driven leader with a wealth of industry experience,” stated Jerry Storch, nonexecutive chairman at Supervalu. “We are extremely pleased that Mark will be leading Supervalu, and we look forward to working with him to drive the company’s performance.”
Plans call for Duncan will step down from the board upon his retirement but will continue to serve as a special adviser to the board in order to facilitate a smooth transition.
“I am proud of all that we have accomplished these past three years and thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to lead this great company,” Duncan commented. “Supervalu has tremendous employees, customers and licensees, and I leave here knowing the company is in good hands with a strong leadership team and a great foundation in place to build on.”
In addition, Supervalu said Wednesday that chief operating officer Bruce Besanko will continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of the company’s independent business and retail food segments, as well as its finance organization. He will report to Gross.
Supervalu’s retail network encompasses 3,407 stores, including 1,871 independent stores (served primarily by the company’s food distribution business); 1,336 Save-A-Lot stores, of which 883 are operated by licensee owners; and 200 traditional supermarkets, most of which have pharmacies.