Jackson, Tripp Departing Supervalu; Herkert Becomes Prez, Realigns Retail Operations

Supervalu’s new CEO -- and soon-to-be president -- is shaking things up, as evidenced by the pending departures of two longtime executives and a realigned customer-focused leadership and operating structure alongside the creation of a new health-and-wellness division to facilitate stronger alignment between the Minneapolis-based company’s pharmacy and health and beauty operations.

Mike Jackson, Supervalu’s president/COO, and Kevin Tripp, EVP and Midwest Retail division president, will retire Aug. 14, after which time the company plans to realign its leadership structure to become more customer-focused. The retailer/distributor also expects to combine its three retail regions, add a new health division and make several shifts in executive duties after Jackson and Tripp, both 55, depart.

Following Jackson’s and Tripp’s departures, Craig Herkert, who joined Supervalu in May as CEO, will assume the additional role of president. Meanwhile, the company’s three retail regions will be combined under Pete Van Helden, who will become EVP/retail operations. Van Helden is currently EVP/Retail West. Leaders at the company’s St. Louis-based Save-A-Lot banner will report to Herkert, while its Carson, Calif.-based Bristol Farms unit will continue to report to EVP/CFO Pamela Knous.

Among the other changes slated to occur at Supervalu in the coming weeks is the creation of a new health-and-wellness division. Duncan Mac Naughton, EVP/merchandising and marketing, will lead the new H&W division, which will aim to facilitate stronger alignment between Minneapolis-based pharmacy and health and beauty operations to create a total health-and-wellness experience for customers.

“Mike and Kevin have made significant contributions to Supervalu’s growth over the past several years, and have been instrumental in laying the groundwork for our company’s ongoing success,” said Herkert. “We wish them well as they move into a new stage of their lives.”

Jackson and Tripp have both been with the company for more than 30 years (Jackson with Supervalu, and Tripp with the former Albertsons, Inc.) and have held leadership roles in multiple functional areas.

“It has been a privilege to work with our associates, our independent retailers, the supplier community, and all of the people connected to this great industry,” said Jackson. “These relationships have been the highlight of my career, and I will always value the opportunities and experiences I have had throughout my time with Supervalu.”

For his part, Tripp said: “I have had the great pleasure of working with this company for 31 years, in many different challenging and rewarding leadership positions. Above all, I have enjoyed working beside so many talented and capable colleagues.”

The company said its new leadership structure will further streamline the critical partnership between its retail operations, pharmacy operations, and merchandising and marketing groups so that it can even more effectively anticipate and respond to the changing needs of its customers.

“This is another critical step in the implementation of our centrally led merchandising model designed to fully leverage Supervalu’s scale while preserving our local relevance,” said Herkert, adding that Van Helden and Mac Naughton will work together closely to ensure a smooth and effective transition.”

With estimated annual sales of $43 billion, Supervalu operates approximately 2,500 retail grocery locations, including nearly 900 in-store pharmacies. Through its nationwide supply chain network, Supervalu also provides distribution and related logistics support services to more than 2,500 independent retailers across the country.
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