The Biggest Grocery Executive Moves of 2023

C-suite shakeups included new CEOs for Giant Eagle, Trader Joe’s, C&S and more
Emily Crowe
Multimedia Editor
Bill Artman - Giant Eagle
In August, Bill Artman officially took over the top role at Midwest retailer Giant Eagle.

It was, at times, a wild ride for grocery executives in 2023. Many moved from interim to permanent CEO roles, while others jumped back into the fray during a time of corporate need. 

Here’s a look at the biggest food retail movers and shakers of 2023.

A Slew of CEO Appointments

This past year was punctuated by big moves in the top executive role among food retailers large and small. 

In March, Giant Eagle, Inc. appointed Bill Artman as its new interim CEO, succeeding Laura Karet, who, according to a company press release, the Giant Eagle board determined to separate pursuant to her contract. A separate press release on behalf of Karet stated that she decided to move on to the next chapter of her life and leave Giant Eagle after 11 years in the position. Artman was elevated to the permanent CEO role in August.

Meanwhile, Trader Joe’s CEO and Chairman Dan Bane retired from his position effective July 2. Bryan Palbaum, who was then president and COO, became the chairman and CEO, with Jon Basalone being promoted to the role of vice-CEO and president.

The summer rolled on to August, at which point C&S Wholesale Grocers, LLC, a provider of supply chain solutions and wholesale grocery supply in the United States, revealed the retirement of industry veteran Bob Palmer as CEO at the end of the year. He will continue to provide his expertise as a member of the C&S board of directors while long-time C&S leader Eric Winn, currently serving as COO, will assume the role of CEO.

Come September, Judith McKenna, president and CEO of Walmart Internationalretired from the company after a 27-year career there. Kath McLay succeeded her, while Chris Nicholas took over McLay’s position as president and CEO of Sam’s Club U.S.

October brought the announcement that Costco Wholesale CEO Craig Jelinek would be stepping down from his role effective Jan. 1, with Ron Vachris, current president and COO, set to take over the role of president and chief executive on that date. Jelinek will remain with Costco through April 2024 in an advisory role and also to assist Vachris during the transition.

Also in October, Dollar General Corpreinstated its former chief executive and current board of directors member Todd Vasos as its CEO. Vasos succeeded Jeff Owen, who stepped down from the position following the board’s determination “that a change in leadership is necessary to restore stability and confidence in the company moving forward.”

Giant John Ruane
John Ruane was named permanent president of The Giant Co. in July.

More Big Moves 

October was a busy month for grocery executive moves, with Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc. appointing Curtis Valentine as CFO of the company, effective Jan. 1, 2024. Valentine is currently Sprouts’ SVP of finance and will succeed Lawrence (“Chip”) Molloy, who previously announced his intention to retire as CFO at the end of 2023. 

Meanwhile, back in July, Ahold Delhaize USA revealed the appointment of John Ruane as president of The Giant Co. He had become interim president of the grocery chain following the departure of Nick Bertram in September 2022. Ruane began his career in the grocery industry at age 14 at a New Jersey Foodtown store, where he worked through college.

July also brought news that Target Corp. named 17-year company veteran Lisa Roath its new EVP and CMO. In the role, Roath leads Target's core marketing functions, including creative, guest marketing strategy, retail brand experience, social media, paid media strategy and marketing strategy and operations. 

Finally, in June, Bashas’ elevated its COO to president at a grand opening ceremony that also celebrated the company's new headquarters in Chandler, Ariz. Steve Mayer was named president of Bashas’ Operating Company, and now leads the Bashas’ organization in Arizona and New Mexico, including all store and distribution center operations, as well as sales and merchandising.

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