- SpartanNash has appointed CPG veteran Tony Sarsam as president and CEO, the grocer and wholesaler announced Friday.
- Sarsam served until July as CEO of Borden Dairy, a milk company that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year. He resigned after overseeing Borden’s out-of-court sale to Capitol Peak Partners and KKR & Co.
- Sarsam takes over from Interim President and CEO Dennis Eidson, who will remain at the supermarket chain as chairman and serve as executive chairman for 30 days. Eidson has been leading the food retailer since August 2019, when he was tapped to replace Dave Staples, who left after two years in the top role.
Sarsam brings a wealth of experience working for food companies to his new role at the helm of SpartanNash, which has seen its fortunes improve this year after a difficult 2019.
In addition to his stint at debt-hobbled Borden, Sarsam helped energize Ready Pac Foods as CEO of that company and spent three years as president of Swiss food giant Nestlé’s pizza and ice cream business. He worked for PepsiCo for more than two decades before joining Nestlé.
SpartanNash said Sarsam’s experience at consumer products companies combined with his supply chain expertise were key to its decision to hire him. “Not only does Tony possess the background and expertise to lead SpartanNash in the coming years, his core values and history of visionary thinking and strategic execution are in direct alignment to achieve our vision to be a best-in-class business that feels local, where relationships matter,” Eidson said in a statement.
Sarsam’s experience leading Borden to its decision to file for bankruptcy and helping navigate its reorganization and subsequent sale could come in handy as he assumes his position at SpartanNash, which is looking to find stability following Staples abrupt departure last year. Staples left the grocer after a rocky tenure that saw the company struggle with supply chain issues and post lackluster results.
SpartanNash, which runs 155 supermarkets under the Family Fare, Martin’s Super Markets, D&W Fresh Market, VG’s Grocery and Dan’s Supermarket banners in addition to commissaries on U.S. military bases, recorded a second-quarter that Eidson described as better than he had expected. Net sales grew 9.4% to $2.18 billion during the period, while comp store sales rose 17.1%. The company also swung to a profit after posting a loss during the second quarter of 2019, which immediately preceded Staples’ departure.