UNFI promotes 2 leaders as part of ‘Fuel the Future’ strategy

ERIN HORVATH, left, has been appointed to the position of chief operating officer and Louis Martin has been named president of wholesale as part of a new leadership structure designed to drive increasing value to UNFI customers and suppliers, efficiency in operations and value for shareholders. / BUSINESS WIRE PHOTO

PROVIDENCE – The restructuring of leadership and implementation of a customer-centric strategy and transformation plan continue at United Natural Foods Inc.

Erin Horvath has been named chief operating officer and Louis Martin has been appointed to president of wholesale, the company announced on Wednesday.

The appointments are part of the company’s “Fuel the Future” strategy that was launched in June, along with a new leadership structure. The strategy shift, UNFI said, will allow the grocery wholesaler to focus on four areas of the business with growth potential: services, wholesale, retail and corporate business. Each growth area has an assigned leader who will report directly to CEO Sandy Douglas.

It is not clear if there are more leadership changes to come. Company representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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In March, United Natural Foods saw profits narrow to $19 million in the fiscal second quarter. The results did not meet Wall Street expectations. One year earlier, the company reported a profit of $66 million.

Both Horvath and Martin will join company President Chris Testa, who oversees UNFI’s services platform, to leverage the combined knowledge of industry veterans and new leaders.

“This operational leadership team, made up of UNFI veterans and new leaders, is equipped to help us accelerate improvement in our customer and supplier experience, our operating efficiency, and digital and physical infrastructure,” Douglas said. “With our transformation plan nearly complete and the realignment of our leadership teams in place, we are well- positioned to become a unique value creator for our customers, suppliers, associates and shareholders.”

As chief operating officer, Horvath will be responsible for driving project management underpinning the improvement plan, as well as ensuring successful implementation of the digital, technology and automation initiatives. Chief Supply Chain Officer Mark Bushway, who was appointed to his post in June, will report to Horvath and partner with her to drive improved process and standardization across the supply chain, according to the release.

Horvath joined UNFI in October 2022 after more than 17 years in senior leadership roles with AmerisourceBergen Corp., a global pharmaceutical wholesale company.

Martin will lead the evolution of UNFI’s customer-centric strategy by integrating national and regional customer organizations, revenue growth management and the commercial planning teams.

Chief Customer Officer Steve Dietz, who was also appointed to his role in June, will report to Martin and continue to lead UNFI’s field sales and merchandising organizations with a renewed focus on UNFI’s growing regional and independently owned customers.

Martin served for 15 years in a variety of senior leadership positions with The Coca-Cola Co., including overseeing the global Walmart customer team before joining UNFI in 2022.

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