C&S Wholesale Grocers announced Thursday that CEO Bob Palmer will retire on Oct. 2 and that longtime company leader Eric Winn will take over the top role.
Palmer will serve on the company’s board of directors following his retirement.
Winn, who is currently C&S’s chief operating officer, has been with the company since 2004 and has served in several management roles. Before taking over the COO role in late 2021, Winn was C&S’s commercial division president, according to his LinkedIn bio. He’s been responsible for supporting independent and chain retail customers while also driving company expansion.
With his retirement, Palmer closes out a career at C&S that began in 1986, when he joined the company as head buyer. He took over the CEO role in 2020 after Mike Duffy, who had been in the role for less than three years, departed.
“Bob was appointed CEO during extraordinary times — the pandemic and the resulting impact on our industry,” Rick Cohen, chairman of C&S Wholesale Grocers, said in a statement. “Bob was critical in effectively leading C&S through these challenges and driving long-term growth.”
C&S has been in business for over a century and has weathered the ups and downs of the competitive wholesale industry. In recent years, it has contended with the loss of major clients Ahold Delhaize, which began its transition to a self-managed distribution network in 2019, and Key Food, which signed on with competitor United Natural Foods, Inc., in 2020.
Amid these setbacks, C&S has made a few grocery acquisitions. In 2021, it acquired Piggly Wiggly Midwest and later that year announced plans to buy 12 Tops Markets stores as part of the Tops-Price Chopper divestiture process to then rebrand them under the storied Grand Union name.
C&S currently distributes to more than 7,500 independent grocers, chain stores, military establishments and other institutions.