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Cub Foods CEO leaving to become New Jersey-based cooperative’s president

Cub Foods CEO leaving to become New Jersey-based cooperative's president

The CEO of Cub Foods is leaving after nearly four years at the helm to become president of the nation’s largest retailer-owned food co-op.

Mike Stigers, who has led Cub Foods since 2019, announced on March 20 that he will step down as CEO of the grocery chain to pursue “another professional opportunity,” according to recently released SEC filings. His last day on the job is May 31.

“Through many different leadership roles, Mike has had a tremendous impact on this company and many of us,” Sandy Douglas, CEO of Cub Foods parent United Natural Foods Inc., said in a statement released Saturday. “Mike has helped both retail banners navigate significant changes and has consistently demonstrated his commitment to the communities they serve, which has fostered ongoing customer loyalty. He has been a great partner and respected industry leader.”

Stigers will become chairman of Wakefern, the largest retail-owned co-operative in the country, with 50 member companies and 362 retail supermarkets.

“I am excited to join Wakefern at this important time in its history. The strength of the co-op and its strong position as a regional grocer are well known in the industry,” Stigers said in a press release. “I look forward to joining the team and working alongside the co-op’s membership to help shape its future.”

Although his time at the helm of Cub Foods was short, Stigers brought nearly five decades of industry experience to bear on the Twin Cities grocery chain.

He was named CEO in the spring of 2019, a year after UNFI bought Cub Food’s parent company, Supervalu, and announced it wanted to sell Cub and other parts of Supervalu’s retail division.

But while managing Cub Foods, Stiger helped change UNFI’s mind by stocking shelves, hiring 1,000 people, and reopening and remodeling some of the chain’s nearly 100 stores. One of those stores was heavily damaged during protests over the killing of George Floyd, but has been remodeled to include a community center to teach children and give residents a place to gather.

“I was so surprised,” said Lisa Clemons, founder of the nonprofit A Mother’s Love, which advocated for the space. “I’ve never heard of a business that wants to rebuild and wants to build a space for the community.”

Stiger’s new role as Wakefern’s president begins June 1. It is not clear who will take over Stiger’s role in the meantime.

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