NATIONAL REPORT — Retailers, wholesalers and suppliers in the convenience store industry are only as good as their management teams and employees. In this special roundup, Convenience Store News runs down the most recent executive changes at the top in the industry.
Acosta appointed Kelly Socia as executive vice president of business development for North America. Socia brings nearly 20 years of experience working with consumer product goods companies and retailers across sales, marketing, e-commerce, and data and analytics.
In this role, she leads Acosta's expanded business development team to provide progressive, integrated sales and marketing solutions that enable its clients to win in the modern marketplace.
Most recently, Socia was vice president, U.S. Leader for Nielsen. Prior to that, she held leadership roles as vice president of sales, and regional vice president for Triad Media where she helped pioneer the Walmart Exchange media platform.
Casey's General Stores Inc.
Paul Suarez joined Casey's General Stores Inc. as chief information security officer (CISO). The newly created role will lead the retailer's cybersecurity team. Suarez will report to Chief Information Officer Adrian Butler.
"Paul's longtime retailer experience paired with his cybersecurity expertise will take Casey's security strategy to the next level," Butler said. "I am pleased to have him join the information technology leadership team at Casey's as we evolve our organizational structure and support Casey's strategic plan."
With 35 years of experience in cybersecurity, network operations, and telecommunications, Suarez will provide strategic leadership and direction for Casey's information security function.
He most recently served as the CISO of Walmart International in Bentonville, Ark. Before joining Walmart, Suarez worked in the Washington, D.C., area in cybersecurity business development roles for RSA and Avaya. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and served his entire 27-year Air Force career in the fields of cybersecurity and IT.
Choice Market added two new executives to its leadership team: Chief Operating Officer Ben Kipfer and board member Sam Holloway.
Kipfer joins Choice from Accenture, where he spent 11 years in the company's technology consulting and retail practice. At Choice, he will be responsible for all operations and technology activities.
Holloway co-founded and served as former chief customer officer at GoSpotCheck. She played a critical role in developing the vision and building customer advocacy to inform GoSpotCheck's product roadmap to guide innovations in machine learning, image recognition and intelligent workforce collaboration. In 2020, she helped lead the divestiture of GoSpotCheck to Form.com to create a 300-employee global organization focused on mobile workflow automation. Currently, Holloway serves as co-founder of Hat Labs, a small team that builds software to power the future of work.
On Choice's board of directors, Holloway will contribute to strategic decision making on behalf of the brand, including growth plans, appointment of executives, and achieving company goals.
Mike Wilson joined Cubby's Inc.'s executive team as the chief operating officer. Wilson previously worked with The Pantry Inc. and its Kangaroo Express c-store chain, CEFCO Convenience Stores, and Holmes Oil Co.'s Cruizers c-store network.
Delek US Holdings Inc.
Delek US Holdings Inc. appointed of Todd O'Malley to executive vice president, chief commercial officer.
"We are pleased to welcome Todd to the Delek family" said Uzi Yemin, chairman, president and CEO of Delek US. "Todd brings a wealth of private equity, trading, capital markets, operations, and management expertise in the energy and renewable sectors to his role at Delek. This aligns our company for future growth with strong proven leadership."
Prior to joining Delek, O'Malley served as a special advisor to a number of private equity and public company CEO's and boards regarding corporate strategy, M&A/divestments, financial structuring, and commercial optimization.
He previously served as president and CEO of Citizens Cos., executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Gulf Oil, president of PBF Logistics, and senior vice president and chief commercial officer of PBF Energy.
Douglas Cos. promoted Jeff Thompson to vice president of sales and marketing and Jennifer Uncel to chief financial officer.
Thompson has spent more than 25 years in the convenience distribution industry and started with Douglas Cos. in 1998, beginning as a territory account manager. He has worked as a regional sales manager, director of food service, and chief marketing officer during his tenure.
Thompson is active in various industry related association boards and is currently serving as vice president of the Southern Leadership Division for the Southern Association of Wholesale Distributors in La Grange, Ga.
Uncel began working with the company in 2003 as a controller and most recently has served as the chief accounting officer. She was named Employee of the Year in 2015.
Lisa Biggs, president of Impact 21, added the role of CEO to her responsibilities. Lesley Saitta, former CEO, moved to a new role as Impact 21 chair.
Biggs has served as managing partner and president for the past 22 years, leading Impact 21's administrations. She has led many teams throughout the organization and has played an integral role in cultivating Impact 21's culture and in building strong, lasting relationships with clients and partners.
As Impact 21 chair, Saitta is focused on developing its expanding solutions, services and partners globally, leading Impact 21's new advisory board, and serving on the NACS Supplier Board.
In addition, Rob Gallo, chief marketing officer, added the role of chief strategy officer at Impact 21. He will develop and lead its expanded practices, which will provide additional unique expertise and focused solutions to serve Impact 21 clients. Scott Burchfield, interim vice president of operations, assumed the role of chief operating officer, leading Impact 21's operations and business transformation internally and with clients to deliver on services. Gallo and Burchfield will serve on Impact 21's newly formed Executive Team.
Impact 21 also appointed Pete Chrystal and Matt Dicke as its newest principal consultants. Chrystal brings his expertise and experience in all aspects of security and loss prevention to Impact 21. Prior to Impact 21, he was the loss prevention manager for TravelCenters of America LLC.
Dicke is a 20-year veteran of project management, research, and analytics with experience in leadership, shopper and customer insights, and both market and competitive research. He joins Impact 21 from Kantar Consulting.
McLane Co. Inc.
Tom Zatina, executive vice president and chief strategy officer and president of McLane Food Service, retired from McLane Co. Inc. after more than 15 years.
Zatina joined McLane in January 2006 bringing with him more than 20 years' experience in the foodservice industry. During his time at McLane, he was responsible for launching the company's office of strategy, developing a culture towards increased focus on customer service, and leading the acquisition and integration of Rocky Mount, N.C.-based Meadowbrook Meat Co.
National Confectioners Association
The National Confectioners Association (NCA) and Candy & Snack TODAY awarded the 2021 Confectionery Leadership Awards to Maureen Keenan, category manager – Seasonal Candy, CVS Pharmacy; and Peter Kempton Jr., category manager – Center Store, TravelCenters of America Inc.
Having been with CVS Pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Health, for more than 25 years, Keenan worked her way from store manager to her current position. Her ability to quickly pivot during the COVID-19 pandemic and analyze new industry trends ensured that CVS' seasonal candy displays continued to inspire shoppers, allowing CVS to outperform the general drug store category in confectionery sales.
Kempton has been with TravelCenters of America for 11 years, serving as a category manager for the past five and a half years, and has built a reputation for collaborating with confectionery manufacturers to stay ahead of shopper trends. In June 2020, he partnered with NCA to pioneer TravelCenters of America's National Candy Month promotion, expanding the share of total store for the confectionery category.
The United Family
Robert Taylor retired from the position of CEO of United Supermarkets LLC, on March 1, and handed the CEO reins to Sidney Hopper, president of United Supermarkets, Taylor continues in an advisory role for the company as executive vice president – senior advisor.
In 1971, Taylor began operating his father's wholesale tobacco and candy business, R.C Taylor Wholesale. In July 2007, he sold R.C. Taylor Wholesale to one of his largest customers, United Supermarkets, and joined United's leadership team as vice president of logistics. In 2010, Taylor was named CEO of United Supermarkets, which was subsequently purchased by Albertson's LLC in 2014.
The footprint of the company more than doubled to 96 stores during Taylor's tenure as CEO, with a large expansion of its self-distribution center, and the acquisition of a manufacturing facility and ice plant.
In his new role, Taylor will continue spearheading the United Food & Beverage Services.