Supervalu is losing the executive overseeing its five retail banners, including Cub Foods, the market-leading grocery store in the Twin Cities.
Bruce Besanko, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, is moving to Kohl's Corp., the Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based discount retailer, as chief financial officer. He will step down from Supervalu on July 5 and start at Kohl's on July 10, the companies said in separate announcements on Monday and Tuesday.
"I'm looking forward to joining the Kohl's team," Besanko said in a statement issued by Kohl's. "I have admired Kohl's business model for years and am enthusiastic about the future the company is creating, really differentiating itself as a bright spot in retail."
Besanko joined Eden Prairie-based Supervalu from OfficeMax in 2013. He was Supervalu’s CFO between 2013 and 2015 and again starting in 2016. The COO title was added in 2015 when the board created the new position.
“Bruce made numerous contributions to this organization, including improvements to the company’s capital structure that have laid the groundwork for our transformation,” Mark Gross, Supervalu’s chief executive, said in a statement. “We wish Bruce well in his future endeavors.”
Rob Woseth, the company’s executive vice president and chief strategy officer, will take on the additional position of CFO temporarily. David Johnson, Supervalu’s vice president and controller, will assume the additional position of chief accounting officer until a permanent CFO is in place.
Supervalu has had other recent executive departures. Sam Duncan, Besanko’s former colleague at OfficeMax, stepped down as CEO and was succeeded by Gross. Eric Hymas, president of Cub Foods, also departed in February.
During Besanko’s tenure, Supervalu shifted its revenue mix to rely more heavily on its wholesale business than retail units like Cub. As part of those moves, in just the past year the company sold its Sav-A-Lot retail chain, which chiefly operated in the St. Louis market, and purchased a major wholesaler in Southern California, Unified Grocers Inc.
Meanwhile, retail sales faced “an unprecedented amount of competition,” Besanko said during an earnings call in January. In the Twin Cities alone, the Cub Foods operation faces an onslaught of new stores from Hy-Vee, Aldi and Fresh Thyme.
The company currently operates 217 retail grocery stores and serves more than 1,900 stores through its wholesale network.