Leadership, Organizational Changes at UNFI

United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) redesigned its organizational chart, announcing several leadership changes and a new team structure that reflects its growth and goals. The company is taking steps to pursue its service, wholesale, retail, and business and enterprise transformation focal points.

“We are on an aggressive path to drive shareholder value by helping to create sustainable and profitable growth with and for our customers and suppliers,” explained Sandy Douglas, CEO of UNFI who joined the organization in July. 2021. “With positive momentum and a $140 billion addressable market offering 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, our new organizational structure and our value-based approach will ensure that we dedicate maximum managerial talent and focus on delivering on these growth plans.

The new organizational structure includes the following senior management updates:

  • Christopher Testa, president of UNFI since 2018, will focus on leading the services platform, a role in which he will oversee vendor services, professional services, e-commerce, and private and proprietary brand portfolios. He will report to Douglas.
  • Steve Dietz, who also reports to Douglas, has been hired to lead UNFI’s wholesale platform. He will continue to expand the company’s customer base and improve support for existing and new customers. Also in the wholesale group, Mark Bushway will lead supply chain, transportation and security, and Jack Clare will lead information technology.
  • Mike Stigers, CUB CEO will continue to lead the UNFI-owned retail division, comprised of the CUB and Shoppers banners, reporting to Douglas.
  • Business and enterprise transformation platform leaders include John Howard, who will lead finance, accounting, tax, shared services, risk and investor relations, and Mahrukh Hussain, in charge of legal, real estate and cybersecurity. Also in this area, Matt Echols will lead communications, environment, social and governance, government relations and industry relations and the UNFI Foundation, while Danielle Benedict will oversee human resources, training, relations work, diversity, equity and inclusion. Louis Martin is now leading strategy, transformation, data and digital experience, and internal audit will be led by Brendan Walsh.

UNFI has brought in other leaders to accelerate growth in the company’s high priority areas and support its strategy, including:

  • Kristyn Farahmandformerly SVP of Investor Relations and Strategic Finance at CBRE Group, Inc., will lead UNFI’s Investor Relations and Finance Transformation teams.
  • Tehzin Chadwickformer global senior manager of environmental health and safety compliance at Sysco, will be responsible for workplace safety and food safety initiatives in the United States and Canada.
  • Usman Wahidpreviously chief information officer at Knoll, will oversee the company’s digital strategy focused on customers, suppliers and associates.
  • Angie Balianmost recently vice president and general manager of Weston Foods, will join the brands and services team.
  • Fall Awardsformerly vice president of government and industry relations at Land O’Lakes, Inc., will lead the new government and public affairs team.

These changes in human capital are part of UNFI’s three-year “Fuel the Future” strategy that was presented to investors in 2021. According to UNFI, the company expects to have greater capital allocation flexibility and to be in its long-term target net debt range sooner than expected. Earlier this summer, UNFI shared its third quarter results, posting a 39.6% increase in net profit and raising its outlook for the full year for net sales, net profit, Adjusted EBITDA, EPS and Adjusted EPS.

UNFI, based in Providence, RI, offers a wide variety of products to customers across North America, including health food supermarkets, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, e-commerce retailers and food service customers. The largest publicly traded grocery retailer in America, the company is #49 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of top food and consumables retailers in North America.

Aubrey L. Morgan