Wakefern Food has appointed Mike Stigers as president, effective June 1.
The company is the nation’s largest retailer-owned cooperative with member companies that own and operate supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners.
Following an extensive national search, Mike Stigers will join Wakefern as president and report to Wakefern’s board of directors. Current president Joe Sheridan, who announced his retirement last year, will remain with the company through the end of the calendar year to ensure a successful transition. Sheridan’s departure caps off a successful 47-year career with the cooperative, including the past 11 years as president.
Wakefern’s chairman Joe Colalillo said, “Mike brings with him five decades of industry leadership, proven success and respect among his peers and the supplier community. Wakefern will benefit from that broad knowledge base and leadership experience. On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Joe Sheridan for his decades long dedication to Wakefern and for his role in the search and selection process—it has been invaluable.”
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Stigers brings five decades of industry experience and a distinguished track record in the retail and wholesale sides of the business. Since 2019, he has served as CEO of Minnesota-based Cub Foods, a subsidiary of UNFI, the natural and organic food company headquartered in Rhode Island. Prior to that, he spent eight years at SuperValu, beginning in 2011 as the president of Shaw’s/Star Market in New England. In 2013, he went on to lead SuperValu’s northern wholesale region; in 2014, he was named president of Cub Foods. In 2016, he was promoted to executive vice president of SuperValu Wholesale and Supply Chain Services, and he occupied that role until UNFI acquired it in 2018.
Stigers’ first job was as a part-time courtesy clerk at Safeway in his home state of California. Throughout his career, he gained invaluable experience in operations, merchandising, retail technology, food safety, supply chain and fresh. His achievements and executive leadership expertise uniquely position him to assume the role of president of Wakefern and lead it successfully into the future, the company noted.
Stigers also is active in industry trade associations, having served as the past president of the Western Association of Food Chains. In addition, he is the immediate past chair of the National Grocers Association, having served as the chair of the venerable organization from 2020-2021. NGA represents thousands of independent, community grocery stores throughout the United States.
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“Wakefern’s unique culture and structure is at the heart of its success. I believe Mike Stigers is the right leader who will preserve the best of who we are and at the same time continue to move Wakefern forward. I look forward to working with him through the transition process,” said Sheridan.
Stigers said, “I am excited to join Wakefern at this important time in its history. The strength of the cooperative and its solid position as a regional grocery is well-known in the industry. I am looking forward to joining the team and working alongside the cooperative membership to help shape its future.”