Hy-Vee’s appointment of dual executives to replace longtime CEO Randy Edeker when he leaves the post next month will divide top-level management at a company already heading in multiple directions.
Jeremy Gosch — who was appointed CEO and president of Hy-Vee’s retail operations in August — will focus primarily on the Midwestern company’s core operations, including its traditional brick-and-mortar grocery stores. Meanwhile, Aaron Wiese, whom the company said in late July had been named “Hy-Vee’s next CEO” before announcing that Gosch would also hold that title, will focus on running the growing number of new ventures Hy-Vee has been investing in, according to Senior Vice President of Communications Tina Potthoff.
Gosch and Wiese will both also serve as vice chairman of Hy-Vee. Edeker, who became chairman and CEO in 2012, will retain the chairman’s position.
Gosch, who like Wiese is a longtime Hy-Vee executive and is set to add the title of CEO on Oct. 1, will oversee the Des Moines, Iowa-based retailer’s fleet of more than 285 supermarkets as well as the following other divisions:
- Dollar Fresh, a group of discount stores Hy-Vee launched in late 2018
- Fast & Fresh, a chain of nearly 200 convenience-focused stores the company formed in 2018
- Wall to Wall Wine and Spirits stores, which it launched in 2021
- The company’s Wahlburgers in-store restaurants
Wiese, meanwhile, will head up Hy-Vee’s sprawling — and growing — number of efforts to expand its online presence and enter new areas, Potthoff said. These business lines include the following units, she said:
- WholeLotta Good, a ship-to-home site that sells items including vitamins, health food and beauty products to online customers in the 48 continental states
- ShopPetShip.com, a ship-to-home service that specializes in pet products
- Hy-VeeDeals.com, a site for weekly ads, coupons and deals that also offers snacks and household cleaning products in bulk
- Helpful Smiles TV (HSTV), an online streaming network
Wiese will also be charged with running “new partnerships in the health, technology and innovation areas,” as well as units including:
- RedBox Rx, a telehealth and prescription delivery service
- Vivid Clear Rx, a Nebraska-based pharmacy benefits manager
- Amber Specialty Pharmacy, a wholly owned subsidiary that provides pharmaceuticals to underserved populations — and where Wiese formerly was a vice president
- HyVee’s Healthmarket vitamin brand
Wiese will also supervise services Hy-Vee is developing, including Redcar, a delivery service that will bring customers items they may have missed during a shopping trip. Hy-Vee is also working on a possible future collaboration with F45, a health and fitness company that Wiese would oversee, she said.
In addition, Wiese will lead Hy-Vee’s Bellissima beuaty care department, which is aimed at shoppers in Hy-Vee grocery stores.
The newly appointed CEOs’ responsibilities will overlap in a few key areas. Wiese will oversee distribution-related aspects of Hy-Vee's supply chain operations, while Gosch will be in charge of maintaining relationships with the company's suppliers. Meanwhile, Wiese will lead Hy-Vee's Aisles Online e-commerce operations even as Gosch manages operations at the brick-and-mortar stores.
Pitthoff said Wiese will oversee Aisles Online, which is closely aligned with Hy-Vee's physical stores, because he will be handling the company's digital operations, but did not provide more specific information about how Wiese and Gosch will handle the areas they will both be involved with. She underscored that their roles are intended to be collaborative.
Potthoff said in Hy-Vee’s announcement that it would have two CEOs less than a month after indicating it would have one reflects the company’s conclusion that that it needed to have a top-level executive who could be dedicated to its expanding number of outside ventures.
“While this is something that is unprecedented at Hy-Vee, it only makes sense as our company has nearly doubled its employee count and sales over the last 10 years, and as we anticipate even more new business ventures to be announced in the near future,” Potthoff said in an emailed statement.
While the new information provided by Hy-Vee clarifies the roles Wiese and Gosch will occupy when they assume their new positions, analysts noted that the company raised eyebrows with its approach to announcing its new management structure.
“It's very odd. Because not only is it unusual to have two CEOs, [but] the announcement was very fudged,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. “It seemed like the second appointment was a bit of an afterthought or a reaction to something.”