Supervalu has appointed a new top marketing executive and installed a new president at Save-A-Lot, its national discount chain.
The struggling Eden Prairie-based grocery company announced the top personnel changes Monday. They are the first leadership changes under CEO Sam Duncan, who started last month, and mark the latest round of reshuffling during a three-year period of struggle at the company.
In January, the company said it was selling its four largest retail chains to Cerberus Capital Management for $3.3 billion. At the same time, Duncan was named chief executive, Supervalu’s third CEO in less than a year. The Cerberus deal is expected to close this month.
Duncan has named Mark Van Buskirk as executive vice president of merchandising and marketing. Van Buskirk has spent the last 20 years in leadership positions at supermarket giant Kroger, most recently as vice president of meat and seafood merchandising and procurement.
Steve Fox, who has spent 41 years in retail leadership positions at Kroger’s Fred Meyer division, will become senior vice president for food merchandising, reporting to Van Buskirk.
Duncan himself worked as the top executive at Fred Meyer in the 1990s.
Rob Woseth has been named executive vice president and chief strategy officer, overseeing Supervalu’s real estate and corporate development. Woseth has spent the last 10 years in business development, strategy and leadership positions at Albertsons Inc. and Albertsons LLC.
Supervalu and Cerberus bought the bulk of Albertsons Inc. in a 2006 megadeal. Albertsons LLC, owned by Cerberus, essentially retained the Albertsons outlets that Supervalu didn’t want.
Albertsons LLC’s CEO Robert Miller is Supervalu’s new chairman, and Cerberus will own up to 30 percent of the new Supervalu.
With the new arrivals, three Supervalu executives will depart: Kevin Holt, president of Supervalu retail, who joined Supervalu last May; Michael Moore, chief marketing officer, who came to Supervalu in 2011; and Tim Lowe, merchandising executive vice president, who was hired in 2009.
Ritchie Casteel has been named as the new president of Save-A-Lot, the St. Louis-based low-price chain that many analysts are counting on to drive Supervalu’s growth, though it’s had some weak quarters lately. Casteel has more than 40 years of experience in retailing and is a veteran supermarket executive.
Casteel’s appointment is effective immediately, though the company says his predecessor, Santiago Roces, will remain for several weeks to ensure a smooth transition. Roces, a onetime Wal-Mart executive, was hired by former Supervalu CEO Craig Herkert in 2011 to run Save-A-Lot.
Herkert was terminated last July, just after Supervalu was put up for sale.
Supervalu also named new presidents for its Shop ‘n Save and Farm Fresh banners, respectively, in St. Louis and the tidewater area of Virginia. Brian Audette will continue as president of Cub Foods, the Twin Cities’ largest grocery chain.
Supervalu’s stock closed Monday at $4.10, up 14 cents or 3.5 percent.