Following an extensive nationwide search, retailer-owned cooperative Wakefern Food Corp. has appointed Mike Stigers to the role of president, effective June 1. Stigers will report to Wakefern’s board of directors. Current president Joe Sheridan, who last year revealed his intention to retire, will remain with the company through the end of the calendar year to ensure a smooth transition. Sheridan spent 47 years at the cooperative, the past 11 as president.
“Mike brings with him five decades of industry leadership, proven success and respect among his peers and the supplier community,” noted Wakefern Chairman Joe Colalillo. “Wakefern will benefit from that broad knowledge base and leadership experience.”
Added Colalillo: “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.”
Stigers brings to his new role five decades of industry experience and a distinguished track record in both the retail and wholesale sides of the business. Since 2019, he has been CEO of Stillwater, Minn.-based Cub Foods, a subsidiary of United Natural Foods. Before that, he spent eight years at Supervalu, starting in 2011 as president of Shaw’s/Star Market in New England. In 2013, he went on to lead Supervalu’s northern wholesale region, and in 2014, he became president of Cub Foods. In 2016, he was promoted to the position of EVP, Supervalu wholesale and supply chain services, and held that role until the company was acquired by UNFI two years later.
Stigers got his start in grocery as a part-time courtesy clerk at Safeway in his native California. During the course of his career, he gained extensive experience in the areas of operations, merchandising, retail technology, food safety, supply chain and fresh. Stigers is also active in industry trade associations as a past president of Lakewood, Calif.-based Western Association of Food Chains. He’s also the immediate past chair of the Washington, D.C.-based National Grocers Association (NGA), having served in that capacity in 2020-21.
“I am excited to join Wakefern at this important time in its history,” said Stigers. “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.”
Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern comprises nearly 50 members that independently own and operate 360-plus supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Together with its member companies, Wakefern employs nearly 80,000 people. The retailer-owned co-op is No. 25 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 listing of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Providence, R.I.-based UNFI, the largest publicly traded grocery distributor in America, is No. 49 on PG’s list.