Beleaguered grocery retailer Supervalu, Inc. (SVU: Quote), which is reviewing strategic alternatives, named Monday Chairman Wayen Sales to replace President and CEO Craig Herkert, effective immediately. Sales will continue as the chairman of the company.
The company also elected Director Philip Francis as the lead director. Francis has been a Supervalu director since 2006.
Herkert joined the company in 2009 at the positions. He came to Supervalu from retail giant Wal-Mart stores, Inc. (WMT), where he most recently served as president and CEO of The Americas. Earlier, he spent 23 years with Albertsons and American Stores.
"On behalf of the entire Board, I would like to thank Craig for his efforts and wish him well as he pursues new opportunities," Sales said in a statement.
"In my new role, I will work closely with our leadership team to improve our sales and earnings trajectory and generate long-term shareholder value, focusing relentlessly on identifying factors that will drive meaningful improvements in our strategy execution and overall performance," Sales added.
Sales, age 62, brings in more than 35 years of retail executive experience. He has been a director of Supervalu since 2006, and non-executive chairman of the Board since 2010.
Sales is the retired vice chairman of Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd., which he joined in 1991, and led it as president and CEO from 2000 to 2006. Prior to joining Canadian, he held several senior leadership positions at the U.S. division of Kmart Corp. in the areas of marketing, merchandising and store operations.
Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based Supervalu has been facing rough weather lately, as customers switch over to Wal-Mart seeking lower prices. The stiff competition and higher costs have hurt its bottom line. The company is now trying to curb costs to aggressively lower its prices to improve customer satisfaction.
After reporting two consecutive quarterly losses and a profit for the recent first quarter that plunged from last year, the company said on July 11 that it was conducting a strategic review of alternatives for the business, including a sale of the company, and suspended its dividend payment.
After being named the CEO, Sales has now said, "We will take significant cost out of the business, and move with urgency in our retail food business to lower prices and create points of sustainable differentiation for our customers."
"As we execute our business plan, the Board will continue its review of strategic alternatives, and I am still leading that process," Sales added.
In Monday's regular trading session, SVU is currently trading at $2.06, down $0.07 or 3.47% on a volume of 2.56 million shares.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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