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DAYVILLE, Conn. - United Natural Foods Inc., the leading national distributor of natural and organic foods, on Tuesday announced that Steven H. Townsend has been appointed president and CEO effective Jan. 1, 2003. Michael S. Funk, currently United Natural Foods' CEO and vice chair of the board, has been elected chair of the board of directors.
In his new position, Townsend will be responsible for company-wide business strategies including corporate planning, the integration of acquired companies, major customer and key supplier initiatives and other national programs. Funk will concentrate his efforts on the overall strategic direction of the business as well as relations with the investment community and key customer and supplier groups.
Townsend has been with United Natural Foods for more than 20 years. He was appointed president in April 2001. From January 2000 to October 2002, he served as president of the company's Eastern Region, where he was instrumental in the successful turnaround of this region's operations during 2000 and 2001. From June 1995 to December 1997, Mr. Townsend served as CFO.
Funk co-founded United Natural Foods in 1996. He served as its CEO since December 1999 and as president from October 1996 to December 1999. In 1976, Funk founded Mountain People's Warehouse, now a wholly owned subsidiary of United Natural Foods, and served as its president until April 2001. He has been a member of United Natural Foods' Board of Directors since February 1996.
Thomas B. Simone, who has been a member of the company's board of directors since October 1996 and has served as chair of the board of directors since December 1999, is stepping down from the chair position and will be vice chair of the board.
United Natural Foods Inc. carries and distributes over 30,000 products to more than 10,000 customers nationwide. The company serves conventional supermarket chains, natural product superstores, and independent retail operators.