Supervalu Inc. has chosen a new leader to take the company forward as it prepares for a potential spin-off of Sav-a-Lot.

On Wednesday the company announced the appointment of Mark Gross as its president and CEO. Gross, 52, will succeed Sam Duncan who has previously announced he will be retiring.

“I am thrilled to join Supervalu,” said Mark Gross. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to help take the company to the next level and to work with the Board and management team to set the strategic path for the future. I look forward to working with our great customers and the talented group of employees in this company, including working with Eric Claus as Supervalu continues to explore and prepare for a potential spin-off of Save-A-Lot.”
Supervalu also announced that Sam Duncan will be stepping down from the company’s 11-person board of directors effective with his retirement on Feb. 29, and that until that time, he will continue with the company as a special advisor to the company’s board of directors to facilitate a smooth transition. Gross will be appointed to the board effective March 1. Additionally, the company said that Bruce Besanko, COO, will report to Gross and continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of the company’s Independent Business and Retail Food segments as well as the company’s finance organization.

“I am proud of all that we have accomplished these past three years and thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to lead this great company,” said Sam Duncan. “Supervalu has tremendous employees, customers and licensees and I leave here knowing the company is in good hands with a strong leadership team and a great foundation in place to build on.”

Mark Gross joins Supervalu with 20 years of grocery and wholesale leadership experience. From 1997 to 2006, Gross worked at C&S Wholesale Grocers, including serving as co-president of C&S’s overall operations from 2005-2006. Additionally, during his tenure with C&S, Gross served as CFO, general counsel, and president of its affiliated retail grocery operations.

For the past decade, Gross has led Surry Investment Advisors, a firm he founded, to provide consulting services to grocery distributors and retailers with respect to strategic and operational matters. In this advisory role, he has assisted grocery clients on several multi-billion dollar acquisitions and divestitures and consulted with private equity firms with respect to investments in food retail, distribution and consumer packaged goods sectors.

Supervalu Inc. serves customers across the United States through a network of 3,407 stores composed of 1,871 independent stores serviced primarily by the Company’s food distribution business; 1,336 Save-A-Lot stores, of which 883 are operated by licensee owners; and 200 traditional retail grocery stores.

Source: Chain Store Age