SpartanNash announced on Thursday that it has appointed Jason Monaco as executive vice president and chief financial officer, effective March 22.
Monaco, who recently served as CFO at Borden Dairy, will take over for Mark Shamber, who will stay with the company through April to assist with the transition. Monaco will report to President and CEO Tony Sarsam and oversee SpartanNash’s finance, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, internal audit and risk management.
The appointment comes as SpartanNash has used profits earned during the pandemic to pay down a significant amount of debt and now has increased flexibility to invest in the business.
In assuming the top finance role at SpartanNash, Monaco reunites with Sarsam less than a year after both executives left Borden Dairy. Sarsam, who served as Borden’s CEO from 2018 until last July, and Monaco arranged for the sale of the struggling dairy supplier to private equity in June after the company filed for bankruptcy in early 2020.
Monaco spent the bulk of his career at Kimberly-Clark, where in just under 13 years he rose from financial analyst to vice president of finance and CFO of the paper products company’s Latin American division, according to his LinkedIn page.
“Jason has a proven track record of partnering with cross functional teams and digging deeply into the business to build systems, processes, and teams to develop and drive operational efficiencies," Sarsam said in a statement. "His extensive food distribution expertise at Borden Dairy, coupled with his deep financial background leading multiple global teams with Kimberly Clark, align with SpartanNash’s future growth plans.”
In contrast to the financial distress he navigated at Borden, Monaco is joining SpartanNash at a flush time for the business, including a formerly struggling retail division that's gotten a boost during the pandemic. Profits earned in 2020 helped the retailer-wholesaler pay down its ratio of net debt to adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) from 3.7 to 2, according to its recent fourth quarter earnings report. SpartanNash is now positioned to invest in the business, Sarsam said during its Q4 earnings call, and the company has its eye on distribution improvements, expanding private label and boosting gross margins.
Last fall, SpartanNash granted Amazon the right to purchase up to 5.44 million of the grocery company’s shares, or about 15% of the company, opening the door to the e-tailer becoming SpartanNash’s largest shareholder.
Shamber steps away from SpartanNash after serving as CFO for nearly four years, during which the company built out its distribution network and expanded its retail footprint with the acquisition of Martin’s Super Markets. He previously spent a decade serving as CFO of United Natural Foods, Inc.
Numerous grocery companies, Sprouts Farmers Market, The Fresh Market and Weis Markets, have named new CFOs over the past year as they reposition for a post-pandemic future and look ahead to complex financial comparisons this calendar year amid slowing year-over-year sales. Instacart also named a new CFO in January.
SpartanNash also announced the promotion of Todd Riksen to vice president and corporate controller, effective March 14. Riksen assumes the position as part of a planned succession to replace Tammy Hurley, the company’s vice president of finance and chief accounting officer, who is retiring in late April.