- United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) announced on Tuesday that Chief Operating Officer Eric Dorne will retire from the company effective Oct. 29.
- Dorne has spent 11 years in leadership roles at UNFI, rising to the COO role in 2020. Before UNFI, Dorne spent 35 years in various leadership roles at A&P Supermarkets.
- UNFI said it will outline a succession plan for Dorne’s role in the coming months.
UNFI is seeing off a seasoned senior executive who oversaw the highly complex Supervalu integration and helped steer UNFI through the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Tuesday’s announcement.
As head of the team tasked with merging Supervalu’s stores, distribution centers and systems following UNFI’s 2018 acquisition, Dorne spearheaded an effort that ended up being more challenging than UNFI anticipated. In the months that followed the deal's completion, UNFI merged the companies’ technology systems, rationalized their distribution networks and sold off dozens of retail stores.
Nowadays, UNFI touts the integration as a success, with distribution capabilities that have allowed it to offer a larger assortment of products, both conventional and organic, to retail customers across the U.S. The company currently operates 56 distribution centers and brings in more than $27 billion in annual revenue.
Dorne joined UNFI in 2011 as senior vice president and chief information officer. He advanced to chief administrative officer and president of strategic business units before becoming COO two years ago.
Before joining UNFI, Dorne was chief information officer with A&P, the former grocery giant that oversaw several retail banners before going out of business in 2015. He also held executive positions at A&P, including vice president of store operations systems and director of retail support services.
Dorne’s retirement comes less than a year after UNFI named Coca-Cola veteran Sandy Douglas as CEO to replace the retiring Steven Spinner.
Last summer, UNFI laid out a revised business plan that includes a combination of cost-cutting measures and building out billions of dollars in business among new and existing customers. The company plans to hit $30 billion in sales and $900 million in adjusted earnings by 2024.