UNFI President Out As Company Pushes Forward With Transformation Plan

Sandy Douglas will take on role of president and CEO
Emily Crowe
Multimedia Editor
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UNFI Gets New CEO Sandy Douglas
With the departure of Christopher Testa, Sandy Douglas (above) will take over as president and CEO of UNFI.

United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) is making moves in its C-suite as it positions itself for future transformation. Christopher Testa will step down as president of the natural and organic grocery distributor effective Oct. 13, at which point CEO J. Alexander “Sandy” Miller Douglas will take over the dual role of CEO and president.

According to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing, UNFI said that the move is meant to align with its customer service and supplier-focused transformation plan. Testa was named president of the company in May 2018 and most recently focused on leading UNFI’s services platform, overseeing supplier services, professional services, e-commerce, and private- and owned-brand portfolios.

“In a continued effort to improve execution and results, better align and simplify our organizational structure, and support our customer- and supplier-focused multiyear transformation plan, we have made the decision to combine our services and wholesale platforms,” said Douglas in a statement. “This alignment of our sales, services, brands, merchandising and digital teams will enable us to move with greater speed and alignment in support of the continued growth of our customer and supplier partners.”

Continued Douglas: “On behalf of our entire senior leadership team, I want to thank Chris for his tremendous service and leadership over these past 14 years, and I wish him all the best as he embarks on a new chapter.”

UNFI recently wrapped up a tough fiscal year, with its fourth-quarter and full fiscal-year results for 2023 revealing pockets of loss during a period of transformation. Bottom-line data for the quarter ending July 29 showed a net income loss of $68 million, an $87 million drop in gross profits and a 56.3% fall in adjusted EBITDA compared with the fourth quarter in 2022. For the year, net income hit $24 million, compared with $248 million in profits the previous fiscal year.

The sometimes dramatic shifts in financials were attributed to overall market volatility and UNFI’s investments in its ongoing transformation agenda centered on improving operating and supply chain efficiencies.

Providence, R.I.-based UNFI delivers a wide variety of products to customer locations throughout North America, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, e-commerce retailers and foodservice customers. The largest publicly traded grocery distributor in America, the company is No. 20 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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