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ELIZABETH, N.J. -- Thomas P. Infusino, Wakefern Food Corp.'s chairman and c.e.o. for almost 35 years, said Friday that he will retire next month, and will be succeeded by current vice chairman Joseph Colalillo, effective May 19, the date of the company's annual shareholders meeting.
"After much consideration, I have decided that it's time for me to pass the leadership of Wakefern to the next generation," said Infusino in a statement. "Joe Colalillo's commitment to Wakefern is unwavering, and I am confident that he will carry on the traditions that have made Wakefern a respected member of the industry and community."
Infusino, president and owner of the ShopRite of Nutley in New Jersey, has been a member of the Wakefern cooperative for over 50 years and will continue to serve on its 22-member board of directors.
Colalillo has served as Wakefern's vice chairman for the past six years, has been a member of its board of directors since 1985, and is the owner of three ShopRite stores in Hunterdon County, N.J.
During Infusino's time at Wakefern's helm, ShopRite retail sales grew from about $747 million in 1971 to more than $8 billion in 2004. Today, Wakefern, with its approximately 200 ShopRite stores, is one of New Jersey's largest employers and the leading supermarket retailer in the Northeast, the company said.
Infusino started his supermarket industry career when he was employed by two of Wakefern's founding members, Al and Ben Aidekman. Infusino is the first member to have served as chairman and c.e.o.
Colalillo is president of ShopRite of Hunterdon County, founded in 1957 by his late father. As vice chairman of the Food Marketing Institute, he serves on its finance and long-range planning committees, as well as chairing its Independent Operator Advisory Board. Colalillo was recently awarded the New Jersey Food Council's Lifetime Achievement Recognition.
Wakefern Food Corp., a privately held company, is a 42-member retailer-owned cooperative that serves as the marketing and distribution arm of ShopRite supermarkets.