C&S brings back procurement leader to be CEO

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Bob Palmer

Bob Palmer has come out of retirement to become the latest chief executive officer of C&S Wholesale Grocers, the largest U.S. wholesale grocery supply company.

Palmer previously was the company’s executive vice president and chief procurement officer before retiring in 2019. He will now oversee the Keene, N.H.-based company’s strategy, growth plan, customer satisfaction and day-to-day operations. He succeeds Mike Duffy.

Palmer has more than 30 years of industry experience, first joining C&S in February 1986 as head buyer and served as the director of procurement until 1995, which he was promoted to vice president. He was promoted to senior vice president of non-perishable procurement in October 1996. 

“C&S has been a leader in the rapidly changing grocery industry for over 102 years. We will continue to drive innovation and adapt to the dynamic market conditions to better serve and support our customers,” said Rick Cohen, chairman, C&S Wholesale Grocers. “These unique times have required us to refocus our efforts and priorities.”

C&S was founded in 1918 as a supplier to independent grocery stores and now services more than 7,700 independent supermarkets, chain stores, military bases and institutions with over 137,000 different products. Palmer’s additional, non-C&S experience includes four years with Riverside Markets, a division of Penn Traffic Company in DuBois, Pa. He also spent four years as a retail store manager within Alberstons’ Southco Division in Florida and Alabama. In 2002, Bob was named director emeritus of the Northeast Wholesale Food Distributors Association. 

“Bob is a highly valued leader that has led C&S through times of change with much success,” Cohen said. “His unrelenting focus on customer service and innovative go-to-market strategies have helped us win in challenging times and will undoubtedly serve us well as we transform for the future.”