Following the recent acquisition of SuperValu, United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) has made changes to its leadership team. James Muehlbauer, an experienced financial and strategic executive, was appointed to the company’s Board of Directors, effective April 22. UNFI also announced that SuperValu will now operate under a national UNFI leadership team, in an effort to accelerate the company’s integration. In line with this announcement, Sean Griffin will take on the expanded role of Chief Operating Officer in addition to serving as SuperValu's CEO, effective April 22.
In this expanded role, Griffin will oversee all of UNFI’s sales, operations, services, retail functions, and merchandising, UNFI noted in a press release. This change is expected to advance UNFI’s execution of its long-term strategic objectives and short-term synergy, revenue, and EBITDA growth objectives.
"We feel very good about the work accomplished over the last six months to integrate UNFI and SuperValu, to align our people, and to implement the necessary process and systems changes. As such, we're now well positioned to accelerate our migration to one company,” Steven L. Spinner, UNFI Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented. “Sean is the ideal candidate to assume his previous role as our Chief Operating Officer where he'll influence and guide sales and operations across our entire organization."
In over nine years with UNFI, Griffin has held several senior leadership roles, including Chief Operating Officer from 2014 to 2018 and CEO of SuperValu since October 2018. Before joining UNFI, Griffin was East Region Broadline President of Performance Food Group. Griffin has served in several leadership roles of increasing responsibility in the foodservice distribution industry with U.S. Foodservice, Alliant Foodservice, and Sysco Corporation.
Muehlbauer’s appointment, meanwhile, the company noted, is in line with UNFI’s continued efforts to expand the size of its Board and bring in additional expertise in areas that serve the company’s new strategic objectives. With the addition of Muehlbauer, the Board will have nine members in total.
"Jim's extensive financial background with strong commercial and leadership skills will make him a valuable addition to our Board of Directors," said Spinner. "His knowledge and experience in broad strategic transitions and large-scale integration efforts directly aligns with the qualifications and expertise identified through our Board refreshment process."
Muehlbauer most recently served as the Executive Vice President, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer for The Valspar Corporation. In his previous positions, Muehlbauer served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Best Buy from 2007 to 2013, and before that, as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Best Buy’s domestic businesses from 2003 to 2007. Prior to his work with Best Buy, Muehlbauer was Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Musicland from 2002 to 2003. Outside of the corporate world, Muehlbauer served on the Board of Overseer’s for the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.
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