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    PG Web Extra: Ones to Watch - Where Are They Now?

    An update on the executives we tuned in on during 2014

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ

    A year ago, we planned to keep an eye on these executives – let’s see what they’ve been up to over the past 12 months. (Be sure to visit this year's class of Ones to Watch!)

    Shelley Broader, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

    Last January, Broader was president and CEO of Walmart Canada, a position to which she brought 20 years of retail leadership experience from not only the Bentonville, Ark.-based superstore giant but also Hannaford Bros. and Michael’s.

    Broader’s skills and achievements did not go unnoticed – she was promoted to EVP, president and CEO of Walmart EMEA, effective last June 1. In this role, Broader will lead Walmart’s retail operations and oversee business development in Europe, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and Canada. She reports to David Cheesewright, president and CEO of Walmart International, who said of Broader, “Shelley has been a strong leader since joining Walmart Canada and is the ideal person to leverage the tremendous potential the EMEA region holds for our company. Shelley’s leadership of our business in Canada during a time of increased competition underscores her knowledge of the retail environment which will serve her well in her new role.”

    Walmart employs more than 285,000 associates and operates more than 1,345 retail units in Canada, Sub-Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom.

    “Walmart has strong operations and excellent teams of associates” in these regions, Broader said. “I look forward to working with the teams to build on this success and to bring our mission of saving people money so they can live better to even more families across the region.”

    However, some observers suggest Broader will have her work cut out for her, as Walmart faces challenges around the globe.

    Burt Flickinger, managing partner of New York-based Strategic Resource Group, notes that stores in Central and South America that Walmart acquired from Ahold are struggling, and the company faces additional challenges in Africa, Asia and the U.K. “Walmart struggles so much outside of North America, it’s going to be that much more important for Walmart to succeed in Canada going forward,” he says. “Aldi’s going to be expanding very aggressively; Dollar General is going to continue to expand. Walmart can’t find a way to beat Dollar General on general merchandise and hasn’t found a way to beat Aldi. With Costco being its worst enemy, Walmart’s fighting a four-front war for the first time.”

    Sam Duncan, Supervalu Inc.

    Despite the cost and potential reputational hit of a double data breach this past year, Supervalu Inc. has experienced steady improvement under the leadership of CEO Sam Duncan. Overall sales continue to grow and its hard-discount Save-A-Lot banner continues to be a good performer.

    In its most recent financial report, the Minneapolis-based wholesaler and retailer reported its third consecutive quarter of positive sales – up 1.8 percent to $4.02 billion in Q2 of its 2015 fiscal year.

    “Midway through fiscal 2015, I am encouraged with the progress we have made across the business,” Duncan said at the Q2 earnings call. “The investments we have made at Save-A-Lot continue to drive sales and our Retail Food stores recorded their third consecutive quarter of positive identical store sales. The addition of the Rainbow stores [in the Twin Cities] this past quarter is a positive for our Independent Business and we are encouraged by the early results.”

    This is a far cry from how things looked at Supervalu more than two years ago, when the company cleaned its executive house and sold several of its retail banners back to Albertsons after years of underperformance, including 18 consecutive quarters of declining sales.

    Despite the quarter’s overall rosier financial picture, Supervalu incurred $1 million in after-tax information technology intrusion costs following two data breaches that impacted not only several Supervalu banners, but also many of those sold to Albertsons because Supervalu continues to provide third-party IT services to that company as part of a transition services agreement.

    Robert Edwards, Safeway Inc.

    President and CEO of Safeway after the retirement of Steve Burd, Edwards will take on those posts for the combined entity created by Albertsons acquiring Safeway, a deal expected to close in January 2015.  

    Cerberus-owned AB Acquisition LLC, parent company of Albertson’s LLC and New Albertson’s, Inc., will acquire all outstanding shares of Safeway for $40 per share, or $9 billion. The merger will create a network that includes more than 2,400 stores, 27 distribution facilities and 20 manufacturing plants, employing more than 250,000 associates. (A deal to sell off 168 stores to satisfy federal regulatory concerns was reached in mid-December.)

    “We’re drawing on the strong talent within both companies to build an innovative, customer-focused and growth-driven company,” Edwards said.

    Edwards’ leadership team will include Bob Gordon, EVP and general counsel; Shane Sampson, EVP, marketing and merchandising; Andy Scoggin, EVP, human resources, labor relations, public affairs and government affairs; Jerry Tidwell, EVP, supply chain and manufacturing; Lee Wilson, EVP and chief administrative officer; Bob Dimond, EVP and CFO; Justin Ewing, EVP, corporate development and real estate; Barry Libenson, interim EVP and CIO; Wayne Denningham, EVP and COO, South Region; Justin Dye, EVP and COO, East Region; and Kelly Griffith, EVP and COO, North Region.

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ
    • About Jim Dudlicek As editorial director of Progressive Grocer, Jim Dudlicek oversees daily operations of the magazine, spearheads its signature features, produces PG’s monthly Trend Alert newsletter on center store issues, moderates its regular webcast series, and writes and comments about a wide range of grocery issues. A food industry journalist since 2002, Jim came to PG in June 2010 after covering the dairy industry for 7½ years, during which time he served as chief editor of Dairy Field and Dairy Foods magazines. A graduate of Marquette University, Jim is fascinated by how truly progressive grocers inspire consumers to enjoy food, transforming the industry from mere merchants into educators that can take the most basic of all necessities and turn it into something profound and life-enhancing. Follow him at www.twitter.com/JimDudlicek

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