- Albertsons has named Geoff White as chief merchandising officer and executive vice president, according to a company release. White will be taking over the role from Shane Sampson, whose last day at Albertsons was Sept. 7.
- White previously served as president of Albertsons' Own Brands business, where he helped launch the company's Signature Reserve Line and increased private label penetration.
- White started his career at Albertsons as a general clerk at a Safeway. He served as senior vice president of marketing and merchandising for Albertsons' Northern California division prior to being appointed president of Own Brands in 2017.
During White's tenure as president of Own Brands, penetration grew from 23% in 2017 to 25.3% as of the first quarter of 2019. By the end of its 2018 fiscal year, Albertsons had more than 11,000 private label products, generating more than $12.5 billion in sales.
Albertsons will hope White's success in store brands can translate to the company's wider assortment. His appointment could also signal that the grocer wants to double down on its private-label launches and penetration.
White's ability to keep up with trends in organic, natural and premium products has proven to be lucrative for the company. Albertsons' O Organics and Open Nature brands have driven major growth, making up almost 24% of the company's natural and organic sales.
White has also overseen many new launches, including the retailer’s hyper-premium private label line, Signature Reserve, which debuted last year and expanded in November. The retailer is also updating its Signature Select product branding and rolling out more than 300 new products under the label by the end of 2019.
Albertsons launched more than 1,100 private label products last year. During the first quarter this year, the grocer added 234 new items and plans to add 600 new items in total by the end of the year.
White isn’t the only new executive in Albertsons C-suite. The company recently hired HR veteran Mike Theilmann as its chief human resources officer and appointed Vivek Sankaran as CEO in April. With this new executive lineup Albertsons is poised to shake up its business, and the challenge now for the leadership team will be to forge a steady path forward for the company.