Chris Litz, Atlanta division regional director for Publix Super Markets, will become the company's VP of fresh product business development upon the retirement of David Bridges, who will leave the company on Jan. 1, 2016, after 49 years at the Lakeland, Fla.-based grocer.
Litz joined Publix in 1987 as a stock clerk at a store in Sarasota, Fla., and subsequently held several positions before becoming a store manager in 1995 and Lakeland division district manager in 2000. He was then promoted to director of warehousing in 2007 and to his current position in 2010.
"Chris’s experience in retail and support makes him an ideal candidate for this leadership position," observed Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw. "His knowledge of both facets of our operations will continue to move our fresh retail business units forward."
Bridges' Publix career began in 1966 as a front service clerk at a store in Lakeland. By 1981, he had become a store manager, and in 1987 he rose to the role of district manager. Bridges was promoted to Lakeland division regional director in 1994 and to VP of retail business development in 2000. A year later, he was named VP of fresh product business development, his current position.
"David has been a dedicated Publix associate and an integral part of the growth of our fresh and meals departments," noted Publix President Todd Jones. "He has a passion for providing premier service to his customers and for the training, development and advancement of his team. We will miss David and wish him well as he begins the next chapter of his life."
Further, the position of VP of fresh product business development will realign to report to SVP Dave Bornmann, who currently has responsibility for grocery and customer service business development. The realignment will enable insight across center store and the perimeter, in addition to the front end operating area, to gauge their effect on the customer shopping experience.
Publix operates 1,103 stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.