The year-long hunt for a new president and CEO of SpartanNash has come to an end with the appointment of Tony B. Sarsam, most recently the CEO of Borden Dairy Co. Inc.
SpartanNash's Interim President and CEO Dennis Edison — who has held the position since David M. Staples resigned in August 2019 in the wake of the company's disappointing financial performance — will continue his role as chairman of the board and will serve as executive chairman for a period of 30 days to ensure a smooth transition with Sarsam.
Sarsam joins the food distributor and retailer at a time when its sales are benefiting from the COVID-19 pandemic, including a booming private brand business. The retailer saw its store brand sales grow by more than 24% in the second quarter.
For its 12-week quarter ended July 11, SpartanNash reported net sales growth of 9.4% to $2.18 billion, from $2 billion in the year-ago period. The company also logged Q2 2020 retail comparable-store sales of 17.1%.
Prior to leaving his position as CEO of Borden Dairy in July 2020, Sarsam successfully led Borden through a restructuring and restored the business to a new foundation for future growth. Prior to Borden Dairy, he served as CEO of Ready Pac Foods, Inc., where his focus on innovation and service transformed that business into a growth engine, delivering a 60% revenue increase in less than five years.
“SpartanNash’s Board of Directors has conducted an extensive search over the past year, and we are extremely confident we have recruited an exceptional leader to continue the legacy of our company as a trusted provider of grocery products,” said Eidson. “Not only does Tony possess the background and expertise to lead SpartanNash in the coming years, his core values and history of visionary thinking and strategic execution are in direct alignment to achieve our vision to be a best-in-class business that feels local, where relationships matter.”
Sarsam also spent over 20 years in increasing leadership roles at PepsiCo and three years as president of Nestlé’s Direct Store Delivery Co.
"I am honored and humbled to be selected to lead this incredible organization," said Sarsam. "I think of SpartanNash as over 100 years young, with a rich history and a promising future. I am looking forward to working with our 19,000 dedicated associates to further strengthen our company and extend our success well into the future."
SpartanNash’s core businesses include distributing grocery products to independent and chain retailers, its corporate-owned retail stores, and U.S. military commissaries and exchanges, as well as fresh produce distribution and fresh food processing.