- United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) has appointed former Coca-Cola president Jack Stahl to its board of directors, according to a news release. His appointment boosts UNFI’s board to 10 members.
- Stahl served as president and chief operating officer of The Coca-Cola Company from 2000 to 2001 after working in various roles with the company beginning in 1979. From 2002 to 2006, he served as the president and CEO of cosmetics company Revlon.
- Stahl is currently a board member and lead director at Catalent, a contract manufacturing and development company for drugs, biologics and consumer health products. He also serves on the board of Advantage Solutions, a sales and marketing business solutions platform. Previously, Stahl served on the boards of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and Ahold Delhaize.
UNFI is adding to the size and depth of its board as it becomes a "considerably larger and more complex business," CEO Steve Spinner noted during UNFI’s most recent earnings call earlier this month.
In April, the distributor added James Muehlbauer, a former Valspar Corporation executive with experience navigating tricky corporate mergers, to its board.
Stahl also has M&A experience that could prove valuable for UNFI as it continues to integrate Supervalu’s assets following last year’s blockbuster acquisition. After joining Delhaize Group’s advisory board in 2008, he helped the company work through the landmark merger that formed Ahold Delhaize. Stahl left Ahold Delhaize’s supervisory board in 2017.
"Jack played a key role throughout the merger process and in shaping Ahold Delhaize," Mats Jansson, chairman of Ahold Delhaize's supervisory board, said in a release at the time.
In Stahl, UNFI also gains a former consumer goods executive who could provide valuable insights and connections into UNFI’s supplier community. He worked for Coca-Cola for 21 years before departing after a short stint as president amid company restructuring. With Revlon, Stahl focused on cutting company debt while boosting sales of core cosmetics like lipstick and blush.
UNFI has struggled to boost sales while also integrating Supervalu’s warehouses and systems. The combined companies, now unified under UNFI leadership, reported improved sales in the most recent financial quarter and said integration work is running on schedule.
UNFI hopes to diversify its customer base beyond its largest client, Whole Foods, by tapping into the former Supervalu’s vast network of independent retailers and "cross-selling" natural and organic products to conventional retailers, and conventional products to specialty retailers. UNFI executives noted in the most recent earnings call that those independent retailers are under significant competitive pressure, which could be a worrying sign for the company.