UNFI launches new organizational structure and value-based approach

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UNFI is making leadership changes that will be structured around four growth service platforms: wholesale, retail and corporate and business transformationProvidence, RI, based distributer said last week.

“We are on an aggressive path to drive shareholder value by helping to create sustainable, profitable growth with and for our customers and suppliers,” UNFI CEO Sandy Douglas said in a statement. “With positive momentum and a $140 billion addressable market with significant opportunities to sell more to existing and new customers, we are well positioned to achieve these goals. Our high-performing and diverse management team, new organizational structure and value-based approach will ensure that we dedicate maximum managerial talent and focus on delivering on these growth plans.

Chris Testa, president since 2018, will focus on leading the UNFI Services platform, responsible for enterprise vendor services, professional services, e-commerce and the private and owned brand portfolio.

“Chris will also be responsible for working with Sandy Douglas and the leadership team to introduce and lead company-wide growth initiatives accelerating the Fuel the Future strategy,” UNFI said in a statement.

The company said it was looking to define the services platform as a “key part of the company’s goal to create compelling value for customers and suppliers by leveraging the existing data and capabilities of its large-scale and diversified exploitation activities”.

Steve Dietz will lead the customer growth work of UNFI’s wholesale platform, continuing to expand the company’s customer base and improving support for existing and new customers, the company said. He will report directly to Douglas as of August 1.

Mark Bushway lead supply chain, transportation and security, and Jack Claire will lead information technology, with both continuing to focus on systems standardization and customer execution.

Bushway and Clare will report directly to Douglas upon the retirement of Eric Dorne October 29.

Regarding UNFI’s retail division, Minnesota-based Cub CEO Stillwater Mike Stigers will continue to lead the company-owned retail division. Stigers will report to Douglas.

UNFI said senior management of the business and transformation program will focus on “building capabilities for the future, creating value for our shareholders and long-term sustainable growth for our customers and suppliers.” .

The following officers will report to Douglas:

  • John Howard will lead finance, accounting, tax, shared services, risk and investor relations.
  • Mahrukh Hussain will lead legal, real estate and cyber security.
  • Matt Echols will lead communications, environment, social and governance, government relations and industry relations, and the UNFI Foundation.
  • Danielle Benedict will lead human resources, training, labor relations, diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Louis Martin will lead strategy, transformation, data and digital experience.
  • Brendan Walsh will lead the internal audit.

Seeking to accelerate growth in the company’s high priority areas and support its strategy, UNFI has added the following leaders:

  • Kristyn Farahmandformerly Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Strategic Finance at CBRE Group, Inc., leads UNFI’s Investor Relations and Finance Transformation teams.
  • Tehzin Chadwickformer global senior manager of environmental health and safety compliance at SYSCO, will lead workplace safety and food safety initiatives in the United States and Canada.
  • Usman Wahidformerly CIO at Knoll, will lead UNFI’s digital strategy focused on customers, suppliers and associates.
  • Angie Balianformerly vice president and general manager of Weston Foods, will partner with the brands and services team with a focus on initiatives to accelerate growth, increase efficiency and help customers succeed.
  • Fall Awardsformerly vice president of government and industry relations at Land O’Lakes, Inc., will lead the government and public affairs team.

“Over the past six months, we have accelerated decision-making and flattened our organization, brought in external leaders to fill new roles, and elevated and targeted existing UNFI leaders to create a diverse team that is aligned and motivated to achieve our Fuel the Future Strategy,” said Douglas.