Albertsons names Sankaran president, CEO

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Albertsons names Sankaran president, CEO

By David Salazar - 03/29/2019
Albertsons has named a new president and CEO. The Boise, Idaho-based company on Friday named Vivek Sankaran, currently PepsiCo Foods North America CEO, to the position, effective April 25.

Current president and CEO Jim Donald will continue with Albertsons as co-chairman alongside Leonard Laufer. Longtime leader Robert Miller has been named chairman emeritus and will continue to serve on the board, Albertsons said.

“When I joined Albertsons in 2018, I found a company that had a strong decentralized operating model, a fantastic leadership team and incredible potential to be the four-walls and no-walls leader in the grocery industry,” Donald said. “Over the past year, our team made our company’s nearly 2,300 stores even stronger as we sharpened our focus on the intersection of technology and service. I’m looking forward to the continued progress of the company under the seasoned leadership of Vivek. We continue to be well-positioned to serve the evolving needs of today’s customer, where, how and when they choose to shop with us.”

Donald noted that Sankaran’s experience in CPG, retail manufacturing, logistics, technology and research and development would benefit Albertsons in its omnichannel retail approach.

“It is a great privilege to join a company that has such deep roots in American retail,” said Sankaran. “Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel Osco, Shaw's, ACME, Tom Thumb, Randall’s, United Supermarkets, Market Street, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs – all of these banners and more in the Albertsons Companies family of stores have hundreds of years of combined history. Our stores are integral to the lives of millions of customers each week. I’m excited to build on the legacies of past CEOs Bob Miller and Jim Donald who both laid a solid foundation for success, and look forward to working with our associates to realize the opportunities and navigate the challenges in our evolving industry.”

Sankaran was named CEO of PepsiCo Foods North America in December 2018 following three years as president and COO. Since he began in that role in 2016, he led Frito Lay with a focus on innovation, growth and technology. Besides leading Frito Lay, he has been chief commercial officer for Pepsico North America, chief customer officer of Frito Lay and senior vice president of strategy for PepsiCo. Before he joined PepsiCo in 2009, Sankaran worked as a partner at McKinsey.

“I’ve known Vivek for many years. He has always impressed me, not only with his exceptional work at Frito-Lay in managing the many facets of a multibillion-dollar food business, but also with his ability to work with and develop people,” Miller said. “I couldn’t be happier to leave Albertsons Companies in Vivek’s hands.”

Board co-chairman Laufer joined Albertsons’ board in October 2018, and currently is senior managing director and head of transformation and technology for Cerberus Capital Management, overseeing its subsidiary that looks to leverage emerging technology, analytics and data to drive business transformation. Before joining Ceberus, Lauger was the head of JPMorgan Intelligent Solutions, a unit of JPMorgan Chase that he launched to solve business problems and offer strategic insights through analytics, data mining and modeling. Previously, he cofounded and led Argus Information and Advisory Services as CEO, which was sold to Verisk Analytics in 2012.