- The Fresh Market has named Jim Heaney, a veteran of the cruise line and theme park industries, as chief financial officer, according to a press release. Heaney replaces Oded Shein, who resigned from the post.
- Heaney is a newcomer to the grocery industry. He most recently served as chief financial officer of Carnival Cruise Line, where he worked for five years. Prior to Carnival, he worked at theme park operator Sea World Entertainment. Before that, Heaney held financial posts at Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruises, according to his profile on LinkedIn.
- Heaney’s arrival at The Fresh Market follows the company’s appointment in March of Jason Potter as its new chief executive officer.
The Fresh Market’s decision to bring in someone from outside the food retailing industry to oversee its finances is the latest step in the company’s multi-year effort to steady itself.
The specialty grocery chain, which runs 159 supermarkets in 22 states, has been charting a new course in recent months after a rough period saw it temper store growth, shutter some locations and undergo substantial management upheaval. The company, which has been owned by private equity firm Apollo Global Management since 2016, brought in a new CEO this spring. That executive, Jason Potter, a longtime executive of Canada’s Sobeys grocery company, took over from Larry Appel, a former Winn-Dixie executive who lasted only two and a half years at The Fresh Market.
Although Heaney lacks grocery experience, he has helped steer companies under similar financial constraints as those The Fresh Market faces.
"Jim has an exceptional track record in hospitality and finance and is a proven executive with significant experience in operational turnarounds and private equity held businesses,” Potter said in a statement announcing Heaney’s appointment as CFO.
The sudden departure of Shein continues the rapid leadership changes that have rocked The Fresh Market. When Shein was hired under then-CEO Appel in August 2018, the company hailed Shein’s decades of retail experience as just what it needed to succeed.
With Appel gone, The Fresh Market has signaled that it wants financial guidance from someone who can offer a fresh perspective. Heaney’s experience working in the cruise industry at a time when demand for seaborne travel has dried up because of the pandemic could certainly help him understand how to manage the books of a complex organization during a challenging time.
Heaney had been a rising star at Carnival, taking on responsibility for the company’s legal and IT departments and port development initiatives. He left the cruise line in August without announcing where he planned to go next, according to Seatrade Cruise News.