Jack DePeters and Jo Natale are retiring from Wegmans after 52 and 36 years.
Jack DePeters, senior vice president of store operations at Wegmans Food Markets, will retire at the end of 2019 after 52 years with the company.
“Jack has played an immeasurable role in the success of our company by bringing our values to life and always putting people first,” noted Danny Wegman, chairman of Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans. “His career has set an example of continuous learning and leadership for the many generations that followed.”
A Rochester resident, DePeters got his first job at 16 at a Wegmans store as a part-time employee. After earning a bachelor’s degrees in business administration in 1973, he became a full-time associate, holding such roles as store manager and a buyer. DePeters eventually moved from store operations to merchandising, starting as head grocery buyer and director of Wegmans brand in 1982. In 1986, he became director of grocery, dairy and frozen, a role he held until 1999, when he took on his current position.
During his long tenure with the company, DePeters rolled out a number of key initiatives, among them Ask Jack, a program that enabled Wegmans employees to contact him directly with comments or suggestions, with comments and responses considered to be of broad interest shared through Wegmans’ intranet.
DePeters cited the words of the late Robert Wegman, late chairman of the company as inspiration: “Never think about yourself; always help others.” He added, “Those words motivated me to create opportunities for our people to learn and grow; provide them with meaningful work and deliver incredible service to each other and to our customers.
When asked what his proudest achievement was, DePeters replied that it was Wegmans’ achieving No. 1 status on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, “and seeing how much this meant to our people.”
“Counting the number of people and families Jack has impacted throughout his professional career and through his community efforts would be an impossible feat,” continued Wegman. “Our family is grateful for all that he has contributed to our company and our community.”
Bob Farr, who joined Wegmans in 1980 at the age of 16, will succeed DePeters as senior vice president of store operations. Farr’s own extensive store operations background includes stints as a store manager at several Rochester locations, and more recently, holding the role of Virginia division manager and senior vice president.
Additionally, Jo Natale, the company’s vice president of media relations for 27 years, will also retire at the end of the year after a total of 36 years at Wegmans.