- United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) has promoted Steve Dietz, currently president of its Pacific region, to the newly created position of chief customer officer, effective Oct. 1, the grocery retailer and distributor announced on Thursday.
- In his expanded role, Dietz will supervise UNFI's sales operations in its National, Atlantic, South, Central, Pacific and Canadian divisions.
- Dietz's promotion is the latest in a string of high-level executive changes UNFI has made during 2021.
UNFI's creation of a new chief customer role comes just a month after the company's new CEO, J. Alexander (Sandy) Miller Douglas Jr., took took the helm following the long-expected retirement of former chief executive Steven Spinner, who had run UNFI since 2008.
Dietz came to UNFI in 2014 as part of the company's acquisition of perishables distributor Tony's Fine Foods and has led the Pacific division since 2018, when UNFI acquired Supervalu. At Tony's Dietz served in a variety of positions that saw him direct sales, customer service, procurement, marketing and pricing.
UNFI plans to announce Dietz's successor later this year, according to the press release. In his new role, Dietz will help to implement a local go-to market strategy for the regions and use data and outcomes to determine best practices and programs.
UNFI's creation of a chief customer officer slot in its C-suite follows the company's establishment of a chief strategy and innovation officer position earlier this year. UNFI named Matt Whitney, a former executive at food wholesaler Sysco, to that new position in May.
Dietz is becoming head of UNFI's company-wide sales efforts as it implements a strategic decision to hold onto its supermarket operations after earlier indicating that it intended to exit that line of business. Speaking during UNFI's investor day in June, Chief Financial Officer John Howard said the company concluded its retail locations, which include dozens of Cub Foods and Shoppers stores, can provide insights for its distribution business in addition to bringing in revenue.
In March, UNFI said it had extended its primary distribution arrangement with Whole Foods Market by two years. That deal is now set to run through September 2027.