Supervalu CEO Duncan to retire

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Besanko named COO, will oversee pharmacy operation

MINNEAPOLIS — Supervalu Inc. president and chief executive officer Sam Duncan plans to retire early next year.

The food and drug retailer said late Thursday that Duncan, 63, is slated to step down on Feb. 29, 2016, upon the end of the company’s fiscal year. A search is under way for a new CEO, and the board will consider internal and external candidates.

Supervalu_Sam Duncan_Bruce Besanko

Sam Duncan and Bruce Besanko

According to Supervalu, Duncan is retiring to spend more time with his family in the Pacific Northwest.

“Supervalu is a terrific organization, and we have accomplished a great deal together during the past two and one-half years. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with our employees and thank them for all of their hard work and dedication. I am also looking forward to finishing the year strong and continuing to drive sales and cash through my remaining time at the company, as well as providing time and support to ensure a smooth transition for my successor,” Duncan said in a statement.

“After 46 years in the grocery and retail business, this is a bittersweet moment, but I am also excited by the opportunity to have more time for my family and personal interests following my retirement,” he added.

Previously CEO of OfficeMax, Duncan took the reins as Supervalu’s CEO in February 2013 after the company closed its deal to sell its Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s and Star Market supermarkets — a total of 877 stores — and their Osco and Sav-on in-store pharmacies to AB Acquisition LLC, the parent of Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons and an affiliate of a Cerberus Capital Management LP-led investor consortium.

Also on Thursday, Supervalu said executive vice president and chief financial officer Bruce Besanko has been promoted to the newly created role of executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Susan Grafton has been promoted to executive vice president and CFO.

As COO, Besanko will retain oversight of the finance function and assume supervision of the independent business operations, retail food banners, and Supervalu’s merchandising, marketing and pharmacy functions. Grafton previously served as senior vice president of finance and chief accounting officer.

Under Duncan, Supervalu repositioned its three core business segments: independent grocery distribution, discount food chain Save-A-Lot and five regional supermarket chains (Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, Shop ‘n Save and Hornbacher’s). Currently, 1,857 stores served by Supervalu’s food distribution business. Its retail operation comprises 1,335 Save-A-Lot stores, of which 902 are operated by licensee owners; and 197 traditional retail grocery stores, including more than 150 in-store pharmacies.

“Sam has made a tremendous contribution to Supervalu during his tenure as president and CEO,” stated Jerry Storch, nonexecutive chairman of Supervalu. “He helped stabilize the business following the sale of the five retail grocery banners and has led a turnaround in the performance of the entire company, including improving the performance of all three of its core business segments. The Company is in a better place today because of Sam’s leadership. ”

Supervalu added that the executive announcements won’t affect its ongoing exploration of a separation of its Save-A-Lot business.


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