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Central Grocers Inc. has selected Kenneth W. Nemeth to be its executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Nemeth, who currently serves as president and CEO of Valu Merchandisers Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Associated Wholesale Grocers in Kansas City, Kan., is expected to begin at his new post in early March.
“We are pleased to welcome someone with such an extensive background to our company,” said Jim Denges, president and CEO of Joliet, Ill.-based Central Grocers. “Ken has a tremendous track record in marketing and has exhibited the leadership skills that will allow us to continue to meet the objectives our board has for the future of Central Grocers.”
Prior to taking the helm of Valu Merchandisers in 2000, Nemeth spent five years as that company’s VP of sales and merchandising. During that period, Nemeth focused on programs to drive incremental sales, including expanding the product base to include dollar grocery, specialty foods and a pharmacy program.
Valu is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AWG, which has an extensive distribution network that serves more than 2,800 stores in 26 states. Central Grocers opened its own 975,000-square-foot headquarters distribution center in 2009, so as such, Denges said, “Ken’s familiarity with the grocer cooperative model and his knowledge of the distribution process will be of great benefit to us.”
Nemeth was raised in Calumet Park, a southeast suburb of Chicago, and has family in the area. “I have the greatest respect for Jim Denges and the management team and employees at Central Grocers,” Nemeth said. “They are highly regarded throughout the grocery industry and I look forward to contributing to their continued success.”
Central Grocers Inc. is a members-owned grocery cooperative that serves more than 400 retail stores in the Midwest. Central owns and operates supermarkets in and around Chicago and northern Indiana under the Strack & Van Til, Town & Country Food Market, Ultra Foods, Berkot’s and Key Market banners.