Supervalu appoints new chief financial officer

  • Article by: MIKE HUGHLETT , mike.hughlett.startribune.com
  • Updated: July 25, 2013 - 11:50 AM

The supermarket giant revealed it paid its departing finance chief $300,000 to stay two more months.

Bruce Besanko, new chief financial officer at Supervalu

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Supervalu Inc. on Wednesday named a new chief financial officer, ending a rocky transition in which the company wound up paying its former top finance executive a $300,000 bonus for two extra months of work.

The Eden Prairie-based company hired Bruce Besanko, the CFO and chief administrative officer of OfficeMax Inc. of Naperville, Ill., to round out the team of senior leaders reporting to new chief executive officer Sam Duncan.

Duncan, who became CEO in February, was CEO of OfficeMax from 2005 to 2011.

Besanko succeeds Sherry Smith, who was paid the $300,000 bonus in addition to her regular salary to stay at Supervalu two months longer than planned while the CFO search went on.

Previously, she was to leave the company at the end of May. Supervalu recently disclosed in government filings the incentive for her to stay until July 31.

Smith, a 26-year Supervalu veteran who became CFO in December 2010, will remain in that post until Besanko starts Aug. 7.

Besanko is Supervalu’s third CFO in about three years, while Duncan is the company’s third chief executive in that time. He replaced Wayne Sales, who stepped into the CEO post in July 2012 after the firm was put up for sale and CEO Craig Herkert was terminated following several years of declining sales and a sinking stock price. Sales remains a Supervalu director.

Besanko joined OfficeMax as CFO in 2009, reporting to Duncan. Before that, Besanko had served as CFO at the now-defunct Circuit City Stores Inc. and Yankee Candle Co. He was vice president of finance from 2002 to 2005 at Richfield-based Best Buy Co. Besanko also served in the U.S. Air Force for 26 years, rising to lieutenant colonel.

OfficeMax said it appointed Deb O’Connor, its chief accounting officer, to be interim CFO. The office supply retailer is in the midst of a merger with one of its main rivals, Office Depot of Boca Raton, Fla.

Last winter, Supervalu sold its four largest supermarket chains for $3.3 billion to an investor group led by Cerberus Capital Management, halving the company’s size to about $17 billion in annual revenue.

 

Staff writer Steve Alexander contributed to this report.

Mike Hughlett • 612-673-7003

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