United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) has appointed Mario Maffie to the position of CIO, effective Oct. 2. In his new role, Maffie will head the company’s information technology team, oversee critical network systems integration work, and help accelerate the use of data and insights in support of UNFI’s customers and suppliers. He will report to UNFI COO Erin Horvath.
Maffie comes to UNFI after 24 years in roles of increasing responsibility at McLean, Va.-based Mars Inc., which is known for its confectionery, pet food, and other food products and animal care services. His most recent role there was corporate CIO, a position he took on in 2018, in which capacity he oversaw technology for corporate functions, including HR, procurement, finance and legal, in addition to global technology capabilities such as master data management, reporting and integration services and platforms, automation, supply chain, and global enterprise resource planning.
“Our information technology team, the backbone of our operations, is currently engaged in network and systems integration work that is critical to the success of our business and the transformation we have undertaken,” noted Horvath. “Over the past 20-plus years, Mario has been at the forefront of helping Mars harness the power of data, analytics and automation, ensuring that Mars continually evolved its technology through new platforms and modern capabilities, including AI-based programs, and digital transformation initiatives. He brings a wealth of experience in strategy development and execution and is known for nurturing the talent of tomorrow. We’re excited for Mario to join our team and look forward to the positive contributions he will make in this leadership position.”
Maffie’s time at Mars included appointments to various important senior leadership roles within the technology team. Before becoming CIO, he was senior director, technology strategy and execution (2016-8), and from 2010 to 2016, he held director roles supporting global technology transformation (2014-16) and end user technologies (2010-14). In 2010, he was also part of the integration team responsible for uniting Mars and Wrigley, which achieved the successful harmonization of the data center, network, infrastructure, service desk and IT organization. He also launched a global master data platform with SAP MDG and led the first global deployment at Mars of predictive AI-based financial performance products.
Providence, R.I.-based UNFI delivers a wide variety of products to customer locations throughout North America, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, e-commerce retailers and foodservice customers. The largest publicly traded grocery distributor in America, the company is No. 20 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.