Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) is stepping into the new year with its sights set on a strategic leadership transition. Recently, the retailer announced that its President and Chief Executive Officer, David Smith, will retire at the end of 2023, and current Chief Operating Officer Dan Funk will be stepping up as his successor.
"All in all, this experience serving as AWG's President and CEO has been the most incredible experience of my life and an unmerited gift," Smith stated. "I feel blessed to have been chosen to serve, lead, and embrace AWG as my home. The Board went through a comprehensive and deliberate process, ultimately selecting Dan as the next-generation Chief Executive. His selection ensures the executive leadership of AWG will remain in the hands of proven leaders from within whom we all know and trust. I look forward to working closely with him in the coming year leading up to this transition."
Smith joined AWG in 2003 and became President and CEO in 2015. He is in his 48th year in the industry and 36th year of service in wholesale.
During his time with AWG, Smith has seen the cooperative and membership grow from a Midwest company with 1,200 stores and three divisions to a sprawling central United States company.
"David's retirement and leadership transition has been in the planning stages for several years. The Board has worked with him and a leading management consulting and recruiting firm along with the executive leadership team on a comprehensive and strategic succession plan for the past two years," said Barry Queen, Chairman of the Board.
As Smith prepares to step down from the role, COO Dan Funk prepares to step up.
"I am grateful to the Board of Directors, our cooperative members, and the AWG teammates for all your support as I transition into this new role," said Funk. "I look forward to serving our team, membership, and the Board of Directors as we continue to support independent grocers in communities across America."
Funk started his career with AWG as President of Valu Merchandisers Company (VMC) in October 2012 and became the Senior Vice President of Center Store. After becoming Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer, he was named the first-ever Chief Supply Chain and Merchandising Officer, and in 2020 became the COO.
"Dan's integrity and strategic mindset, coupled with his retail background, will enable him to lead AWG into the next chapter focused on the growth and success of the cooperative," Queen added.
We wish both leaders the best in pursuing these new career pathways!