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CHICAGO -- IGA here announced yesterday it has tapped retail veteran Douglas Fritsch as v.p., U.S. chief growth officer. Fritsch, who begins his appointment immediately, will report directly to IGA chairman and c.e.o. Thomas S. Haggai.
Fritsch's appointment is the result of a nationwide job search led by Paulo Goelzer, president of the IGA Coca-Cola Institute, and Pat Smietana, director of human resources.
Fritsch begins his tenure with IGA in what the voluntary supermarket network anticipates to be an intensively strong growth period. "Utilizing his many years of experience, Fritsch will further develop IGA's field team, work to make core marketing events more effective, and maximize the support of manufacturers/vendors to IGA's valued retailers, IGA said in a statement.
Fritsch began his career in the food industry with Jewel Food Stores, and then in 1974 moved to the White Hen Pantry division. Over the next 30 years he advanced steadily in the White Hen corporation, holding positions ranging from regional management to v.p. of franchise operations, and ultimately, s.v.p. of operations for the entire company. In 1991 he was chosen by White Hen's executive leadership team to attend the eight-week intensive graduate business program at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.
"As I looked at the career accomplishments of Doug Fritsch, it became apparent that it would be difficult to find a better match of professional skills for what we anticipate IGA to need for the upcoming strong growth period," said Haggai.
Noted Goelzer: "I was impressed with the full range of roles Fritsch occupied in his long tenure with Jewel and White Hen, and the insight that experience has given him into every aspect of the retail business."
"Because White Hen was not a self-distributing company, this experience includes building relationships between retailer and distribution -- a requirement essential to the IGA pattern. With this balanced background, Fritsch understands how to recruit, develop, and support family business owners."
IGA is the world's largest voluntary supermarket network, with aggregate worldwide retail sales of more than $21 billion per year. The alliance includes more than 4,000 Hometown Proud Supermarkets worldwide, supported by 36 distribution companies and more than 55 major manufacturers, vendors, and suppliers, encompassing everything from grocery to equipment items.