SUPERVALU INC. (NYSE: SVU) announced today that Pete Van Helden, executive vice president of retail operations, will be leaving the company this spring. This was a mutually beneficial decision that comes at the right time for both SUPERVALU and Van Helden, as the company continues to implement its business transformation strategy and as Van Helden moves on to opportunities that will better utilize his strengths.
“Pete has been a passionate leader of our retail businesses for many years, beginning his career with Albertsons in 1978. During his 34 years with the organization, Pete ran stores, drove integration after corporate mergers and acquisitions, and set strategy for the retail divisions,” said Craig Herkert, SUPERVALU’s chief executive officer and president. “We will miss his active voice in our company and wish him all the best as he takes on new challenges outside of SUPERVALU.”
Van Helden’s departure leads to the appointment of Kevin Holt, 53, a former Meijer, Inc., executive who has significant experience leading teams in similar turnaround environments. He is accomplished at helping businesses streamline costs and enhance retail execution while strengthening employee morale. Holt will join SUPERVALU as the executive vice president of Retail Operations in late May, reporting to Herkert, and will work closely with Van Helden to ensure a smooth transition.
During his 13-year career with Meijer, Holt held a number of leadership positions, including roles in information technology and strategic planning. He successfully improved sales and profits, increased productivity and efficiency, and strengthened customer engagement. After leaving Meijer as the executive vice president of retail operations in 2007, Holt spent three years with Sears Holding Company, where he went on to become executive vice president and president of stores. He most recently served as president of Hudsonville Ice Cream and Kilwin’s Quality Confections in Michigan.
“Kevin is a seasoned retail executive who understands the importance of combining enterprise leverage, merchandising and passionate customer-focused execution. He has broad experience improving company performance and knows how to build strong retail teams,” Herkert said. “We believe he has the right blend of experience to help SUPERVALU deliver on the promise of its business transformation, which involves investing in fair prices and delivering a differentiated hyperlocal retail experience.”
SUPERVALU INC. is one of the largest companies in the U.S. grocery channel with annual sales of approximately $35 billion. SUPERVALU serves customers across the United States through a network of approximately 4,300 stores composed of 1,102 traditional retail stores, including 797 in-store pharmacies; 1,332 hard-discount stores, of which 935 are operated by licensee owners; and 1,900 independent stores serviced primarily by the company’s traditional food distribution business. SUPERVALU has approximately 130,000 employees. For more information about SUPERVALU visit www.supervalu.com.