- United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) has restructured its leadership to help fuel more “value creation for our shareholders, and long-term sustainable growth for our customers and suppliers,” per an announcement earlier this week.
- The new leadership structure focuses on four “key operational priorities” the company aims to grow: Services; Wholesale; Retail; and Corporate and Business Transformation. All of the heads of the new leadership teams report to CEO Sandy Douglas.
- Along with announcing the leaders for each of the four units, UNFI also spotlighted five new senior leadership hires, including former executives from design firm Knoll, Land O’Lakes and commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group.
With the leadership changes, UNFI is hoping to chart a course that accelerates the company’s growth and increases its value to investors.
“We are on an aggressive path to drive shareholder value by helping to create sustainable, profitable growth with and for our customers and suppliers,” Douglas said in the announcement, noting UNFI is “well positioned” to meet its targets.
Douglas described the new leadership structure as part of a “value-based approach” that fully taps into managerial expertise.
UNFI President Chris Testa will lead the company’s Services division. Testa, who will continue to report to Douglas, will guide the company’s supplier services, professional services, e-commerce and own brands portfolio. The division will also work with Douglas and the senior leadership team on rolling out “enterprise-wide growth initiatives.”
Those initiatives will be tied to the “Fuel the Future” plan, which the company unveiled last June and centers on six pillars to cut costs and boost business among new and existing customers, with a goal of hitting $30 billion in sales and $900 million in adjusted earnings by 2024. Now on its second year of the plan, UNFI said in the announcement it “remains on track to be within its longer-term target net leverage range well ahead of schedule.”
Steve Dietz, who UNFI named as its first chief customer officer in September, will lead the wholesale platform, while Cub Foods CEO Mike Stigers will remain as the head of UNFI’s owned retail division, which oversees its Cub and Shoppers banners.
For the corporate and business transformation platform, six leaders head up the finance, legal, communications, human resources, strategy and internal audit teams.
The new senior leadership hires UNFI announced are:
- Kristyn Farahmand, formerly senior vice president of investor relations and strategic finance with CBRE Group, who will lead UNFI’s investor relations and finance transformation teams.
- Tehzin Chadwick, formerly global senior director of environmental health and safety compliance with Sysco, who will lead up workplace safety and food safety initiatives for UNFI in the U.S. and Canada.
- Usman Waheed, formerly chief information officer at Knoll, who will oversee UNFI’s digital strategy for customers, suppliers and associates.
- Angie Balian, formerly vice president and general manager at Weston Foods, who will work with UNFI’s brands and services team on growth initiatives.
- Autumn Price, formerly vice president of government and industry relations with Land O’Lakes, who will head up the newly created government and public affairs team.
The additions to the senior leadership team come at a time when Douglas said UNFI has “brought in outside leaders to fill new roles, and elevated and focused existing UNFI leaders to create a diverse team” during the last six months to support its corporate growth plan.