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Meijer names merchandising e.v.p.

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based supercenter chain Meijer, Inc. has tapped grocery vet Bruce Efird to serve as e.v.p. of merchandising. Most recently Efird was employed as e.v.p. and g.m. at Bruno's Supermarkets, where he was responsible for successfully repositioning the business to profitability. Earlier in his career he was also credited with being instrumental in Food Lion's rapid growth.

"Bruce brings a solid foundation in the retail industry at many levels. His experience will be a great addition to help lead our company as we prosper and compete in the retail industry," says Paul Boyer, vice chairman/ co-c.e.o. of Meijer. "As we have grown, we are able to attract some of the brightest talent, and we're delighted to have Bruce join us."

Meijer operates 171 stores throughout Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio.

C&S promotes three in merchandising

Keene, N.H.-based distributor C&S Wholesale Grocers recently promoted three of its executives. Tracy Moore has been promoted to v.p., marketing, merchandising, and trade relations; Zena Tessier has been promoted to v.p. of merchandising; and Dan Fudger has been promoted to senior director of merchandising and trade relations.

In her new role Moore is responsible for the development and implementation of the marketing and merchandising programs and initiatives for C&S' independent customers. She is also charged with managing the New England investment inventory purchasing and coordinating, and maintaining trade relations programs. Moore joined the C&S team in a buying role in 1992 and has been an instrumental leader in the company's growth, according to Bob Palmer, s.v.p. of merchandising.

Tessier now manages the New England and Southeast nonperishable merchandising and investment inventory purchasing. She joined C&S in October 1994 as a grocery buyer after 14 years in procurement and management roles with CVS and Imperial Distributors. At C&S she most recently served as senior director of merchandising.

Fudger is now responsible for all corporate vendor initiatives, trade relations, and all merchandising programs. He will also play an active role in all vendor logistical programs in coordination with the C&S Supply Team and the vendor community. Prior to joining C&S in 1998, Fudger spent eight years in management with J.C. Penney Co. in the New England region. He has progressed through several key roles at C&S, and in 2003 was promoted to director of trade relations.

Food Lion s.v.p.'s change roles

Two s.v.p.'s at Delhaize USA's Food Lion division have taken on new roles with the company. Meg Ham has been named s.v.p. of retail operations, while Derrick Penick is now s.v.p. of merchandising and distribution. Both Ham and Penick report to Cathy Green, Food Lion's recently named c.o.o.

Ham now oversees Food Lion's five retail operations divisions. She joined Food Lion in 2000, and since then has served as s.v.p. of dry merchandising, being responsible for perishable and nonperishable product procurement and merchandising. Ham has been active in the strategic positioning of Food Lion, developing Food Lion pricing strategies, integrating Food Lion's supply chain, and leading efforts to maximize in-store merchandising. Prior to joining Food Lion, she was with Hannaford Bros. Co. for more than 10 years.

Penick, who joined Food Lion earlier this year as s.v.p. of fresh merchandising and distribution, now has responsibility for Food Lion's dry and fresh merchandising, including category management and the company's distribution and transportation network. Penick formerly served as v.p. of merchandising with Kroger's King Soopers division in Denver.

United Natural Foods appoints new chief

After spending 23 years in various executive positions with Dayville, Conn.-based natural and organic food distributor United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), Steven H. Townsend has retired from the positions of president and c.e.o. to devote more time to his other investments and business interests. Replacing him is Michael S. Funk, a United Natural Foods director who served as president from 1996 to 1999 and president from 1999 until his retirement in 2002.

Townsend will remain chair of the board of directors, a position he has held since January 2004, until UNFI's annual meeting, which will take place Dec. 8. To ensure what Funk referred to as a "relatively seamless" transition, Townsend will act as a consultant to the company.

During Townsend's tenure, the company's sales grew to $2.1 billion, with shareholder value enhanced by substantial investment in people, facilities, equipment, and technology.

During a conference call last month, Funk said he had no current plans to change any major strategic directions at the company and would continue to drive ongoing initiatives, although he noted that a little further down the road the company would take a "fresh look" at its strategies. Among the specific company goals that Funk mentioned in the course of the call were to further cement UNFI's relationship with Whole Foods, build management depth, and seek out more growth opportunities at such major mainstream national supermarket companies as Kroger.
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