- Jewel-Osco president Paul Gossett stepped down in the fall after only a year and half on the job, the Chicago Tribune reported. Gossett took over the role after the grocer’s previous president, Doug Cygan, died suddenly in July 2018.
- Albertsons did not publicly announce the executive change but did confirm the executive shift to the Tribune. A spokesperson said Gossett left to pursue other opportunities. His Linkedin page notes his role as president ended in October but does not list any new employment.
- Taking Gossett’s place is Mike Withers, who served as Jewel-Osco’s president from 2014 to 2017. Withers started off at Albertsons in 1976 as a store clerk. Since 2017, he held the position of executive vice president of retail operations at Albertsons.
The turnover rate for the role of President at Jewel-Osco is unusually high. The retailer has had five presidents in a six-year span including Gossett, Cygan, Withers, William Emmons — who stepped down in 2014 after less than a year on the job — and Jim Rice. This constant shift in executives can negatively impact a grocer’s ability to innovate and see projects through.
This is particularly important in the Chicago area where competition is tough and traditional grocers like Jewel-Osco are in the crosshairs of competitors including Aldi, Whole Foods and Kroger-owned Mariano’s.
Under Gossett's tenure, Jewel-Osco maintained its market-leading position and continued the company's push to remodel stores and push into online grocery.
His departure after less than two years seems less than ideal. But Withers, who has who has spent his career with Albertsons and held management positions throughout the country, brings experience to the role as well as corporate discipline.
In addition to an experienced management team and deep local roots, Jewel-Osco is benefiting from technology and loyalty initiatives developed by parent company Albertsons. This includes the Just for U loyalty program, which increased signups by 25% in the latest financial quarter compared to the prior year. Albertsons' reported a 2.7% increase in Q3 identical store sales this week.