2021 has seemingly established itself as the year of new faces in high places, and Wakefern Food Corp. is getting in on the action. The cooperative recently announced that it had appointed Neil Falcone as its new Chief Financial Officer and Karen Meleta as the new Chief Communications Officer.
Falcone joins the C-suite team this past October after previously serving as the Vice President of ShopRite Financial Services (SFS) and Corporate Finance. According to a press release, Falcone started his 14-year Wakefern career at Price Rite Marketplace in 2007 before being promoted to Director of ShopRite Financial Services. He was promoted to his most recent position in 2015.
As CFO, Falcone brings significant retail experience to his new role at Wakefern, where he is helping chart the course for the cooperative’s long-term financial growth and success. Falcone and his Finance team are developing the important tools and technology necessary to deliver leading financial services and analysis for Wakefern members and supermarket banners.
Before joining Wakefern, Falcone held leadership positions with Waldbaum’s, A&P, and Levitz Furniture. He received his bachelor’s degree from Dowling College School of Business in New York and lives on Long Island with his wife Julie and three children.
According to the release, Falcone will be replacing Doug Wille, who retired recently after 43 years with the company.
Meleta has been with Wakefern for more than 20 years. Previously, she served as Wakefern’s Vice President of Consumer and Corporate Communications for 13 years. Now, Meleta will be the first to be named Chief Communications Officer for the company.
Prior to joining Wakefern, Meleta was a Communications Consultant to Fortune 500 companies including Unilever, Parke-Davis, Lancome, and the Home Shopping Network. She also spent nearly a decade at Avon Products. Meleta received her bachelor’s degree from New York University and holds an MBA from Rutgers University.
In her new role, Meleta will continue to oversee all aspects of Wakefern’s communications, public relations, and reputation management. She also drives stakeholder messaging across internal communications, public policy, sustainability, corporate philanthropy, media relations, crisis communications, and government affairs. Meleta has spearheaded company sustainability efforts, with a special focus on developing programs to reduce food waste at retail, as well as creating seafood sustainability and animal welfare guidelines.
Another key initiative under Meleta’s guidance is ShopRite Partners In Caring, ShopRite and Wakefern’s signature hunger-fighting initiative. Meleta has helped raise the profile of this important program over the years through innovative and impactful cause marketing campaigns.
Congratulations to both Neil Falcone and Karen Meleta as they step into their new roles!