Former Coca-Cola Exec Appointed as New UNFI CEO

Providence, RI—United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) announced that J. Alexander (Sandy) Miller Douglas will take over as Chief Executive Officer and serve as a member of its Board of Directors effective August 9, 2021. Douglas will replace Steven Spinner, who is retiring from his position as CEO and Board member but will continue to provide management and Board advisory services through a transition period for up to one year after his August 9 retirement.

Alexander (Sandy) Miller Douglas has been appointed CEO of UNFI. Image courtesy of UNFI.

Douglas most recently served as CEO of Staples, Inc., and prior that that was President of Coca-Cola North America, overseeing the $10 billion revenue business, encompassing all aspects of its consumer and business-to-business operations, according to a press release from UNFI.

“We are pleased to welcome Sandy as our new CEO and member of the UNFI Board,” said Denise Clark, Chair of the Board’s Nominating and Governance Committee and CEO Succession Planning Committee, in the release. “He has a demonstrated track record leading large-scale transformation and growth through strategic, customer-focused action. His extensive experience, which is directly aligned with UNFI’s focus on growing the core business while investing in innovation, make Sandy well-suited to successfully drive the Company through its next chapter of growth.”

Douglas said he was honored to join UNFI, adding, “.The Company’s vision to transform the future of food has never been more important, and the opportunities in front of us are tremendous. Under Steve, UNFI has built a strong foundation for growth, and I look forward to working with UNFI’s exceptional leadership team, the 30,000 hard-working associates across this entire organization and our Board to continue delivering innovative growth platforms that help make our customers stronger and our operations more successful.”

UNFI Board member and Co-Founder Michael Funk also praised Spinner, noting his “transformational impact” on the company. “Since taking the helm in 2008, under his leadership, the Company has become the largest grocery wholesaler in the country by acquiring a variety of businesses and innovating new products and services. Steve has navigated this tremendous growth and change the right way, bringing teams together and preserving the culture of UNFI and its core mission and values. As co-Founder of the Company, I personally want to extend my gratitude for all that Steve has accomplished during his 13 years at UNFI.”

Reflecting on his time at UNFI, Spinner said, “It has been my great honor to lead UNFI. I am so proud of what this team, including Mr. Chris Testa, who will continue in his President role, continues to achieve as the largest grocery distributor in North America. With unmatched scale, product and service offerings, and a commitment to innovation and sustainability, I truly believe UNFI is positioned to deliver exceptional value for its customers and stakeholders going forward.”

UNFI also announced that the UNFI Board elected Jack Stahl to serve as Independent Chair of the Board. “Since joining our Board, Jack has made meaningful contributions and developed strong relationships,” said Clark. “Jack’s experience in executive and board leadership roles provide a strong foundation for his leadership of UNFI. The entire board looks forward to working closely with Jack and Sandy as we guide UNFI’s growth and support the entire team in their mission to transform the future of food.”