- Wakefern Food Corp. announced Friday that Mike Stigers will become the retailer-owned cooperative’s next president, effective June 1. Stigers will fill the role currently held by Joe Sheridan, who worked at Wakefern for 47 years and announced his retirement last year.
- Stigers resigned from his role as CEO of retail at United Natural Foods, Inc. on Monday and will stay with the wholesaler until May 31.
- Stigers brings five decades of industry experience in both retail and wholesale to the top position at Wakefern.
Wakefern’s announcement that Stigers will be joining the supermarket cooperative comes less than a week after United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) reported in a regulatory filing that he would be leaving his role at that company on May 31.
Stigers has served since 2019 as CEO of Cub Foods, the Minnesota-based supermarket chain UNFI took possession of when it acquired Supervalu in 2018. Before that, he worked for eight years at SuperValu, where he served as president of Shaw’s and Star Market starting in 2011 and became president of Cub in 2014. Stigers served as chair of the National Grocers Association from 2020 to 2021.
Based in Keasbey, N.J., Wakefern says it is the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the U.S. The company comprises almost 50 member families that own the stores under its purview, which operate under banners including ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market. Wakefern has stores in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
Wakefern underwent key changes in its executive suite last year, including the retirement of Senior Vice President Brett Wing and the promotion of Kevin McDonnell to president of Price Rite Marketplace.
Stigers is leaving UNFI as the grocery retailer and wholesaler goes through leadership changes and pursues a “transformation agenda” following a quarter during which its net income and profitability plummeted compared with the same period a year ago.
“I am excited to join Wakefern at this important time in its history. The strength of the cooperative and its solid position as a regional grocery is well-known in the industry,” Stigers said in a statement. “I am looking forward to joining the team and working alongside the cooperative membership to help shape its future.”
Sheridan will be retiring from Wakefern at the end of 2023 after spending 47 years with the cooperative, including 11 years as president, according to the company.