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A new leader has been tapped to lead Supervalu’s 195-store New England-based Shaw’s division, in the wake of the news that its current president, Larry Wahlstrom, 57, is retiring after 38 years in the drug and food retailing industry. Mike Witynski, 46, group VP for Supervalu’s Our Own Brands private label unit, has been named to succeed Wahlstrom at the West Bridgewater, Mass.-based chain that runs stores under the nameplates of Shaw;s, Shaw’s Osco, and Star Market. Witynski takes the helm Aug. 10.
“It has long been a goal of mine to retire at age 57 -- a promise I made to my wife many years ago -- so I could spend more time with my family and grandchildren,” said Wahlstrom. “However, I will miss working with the many talented people at Shaw’s and Supervalu, and wish them the very best as they continue to grow our business throughout New England.”
Having known Wahlstrom for more than a decade, Pete Van Helden, Supervalu’s EVP of retail operations, commended “his impressive career and many contributions to our company’s ongoing success.”
Having served in a wide range of positions in both food and drug store operations, Wahlstrom began his career in 1971 at Osco Drug as a store associate in Green Bay, Wis., before rising through the ranks in a number of leadership roles, including store director, VP of the Osco New England division, and president of one of the Albertsons food divisions. He also held a number of corporate leadership assignments for Albertsons before becoming president of Jewel-Osco in 2004. He became Shaw’s president in September 2007.
A 29-year veteran of the industry, Witynski joined Supervalu in 1990 as a retail business consultant in Des Moines, Iowa, and has since held positions of increasing responsibility, including in operations, merchandising and procurement. In 2000, he served as VP of merchandising and marketing for Supervalu’s Cub Foods unit and in 2002 was named VP of Supervalu’s national merchandising, in which capacity he was responsible for leveraging synergies in procurement and category management across eight retail companies.
Noting Witynski’s record of consistent “successful results while serving in a number of leadership roles with Supervalu,” Van Helden said the executive’s appointment “ensures continued strength of leadership at Shaw’s. He will continue to build upon the rich Shaw’s tradition, while bringing innovative strategies to the competitive New England marketplace.”