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CHICAGO -- IGA said late last week that it appointed James J. Walz senior director of branding and business development. Walz, who began his appointment immediately, reports directly to Doug Fritsch, IGA's v.p., U.S. chief growth officer.
In his new role Walz will manage and enhance development of IGA branding programs, which will address the needs of existing IGA retailers, and increase the number of IGA-branded retail locations.
Walz began his food industry career in 1976 with White Hen Pantry, as a store counselor and merchandizing specialist. Over the next 25 years, he rose steadily through the White Hen ranks, holding positions ranging from regional manager to director of franchise and training, and eventually to senior director of store automation. Since 2002, Walz has been affiliated with FranNet, a franchise consulting firm and referral network organization.
"Jim Walz brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm to this new position at IGA," Fritsch said in a statement. "His accomplishments at White Hen Pantry are well known to me in my former capacities with that same corporation. There is no doubt that his extensive knowledge of development and branding will serve all of IGA's current retailers in their desire to find new ways to grow. He will also play an instrumental role in expanding our IGA banner in both existing and in new markets."
Paulo Goelzer, president, IGA Coca-Cola Institute, praised Walz for his "extensive experience in program development, including the design of programs that assist retailers in implementing better controls, as well as improving productivity and increasing sales. "
IGA consists of more than 4,000 Hometown Proud Supermarkets worldwide, supported by 36 distribution companies and more than 40 major manufacturers, vendors, and suppliers.