Supervalu CEO Taps Former OfficeMax Colleague As CFO

Supervalu CEO Taps Former OfficeMax Colleague As CFO

A former OfficeMax executive is set to replace 26-year Supervalu veteran Sherry Smith as chief financial officer, effective August 7.

Supervalu, Inc., announced Wednesday that it named Bruce Besanko executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO); he will replace Sherry Smith—who has held the role since 2010—on August 7.
 
Besanko most recently served as executive vice president of finance, CFO, and chief administrative officer at Naperville, Illinois-based OfficeMax, a role he held since 2009. Besanko worked alongside Supervalu’s current President and CEO Sam Duncan, who previously there as chairman, president, and CEO of OfficeMax.

“I’m very excited to welcome Bruce to Supervalu,” Duncan said in a statement. “Having worked with him during a successful turnaround at OfficeMax, I know firsthand of his talent, financial acumen, commitment to success, and overall work ethic—all of which will be critical as we continue our rebuilding efforts here at Supervalu.”

Prior to his role at OfficeMax, Besanko worked for Best Buy Company Inc., Circuit City Stores, Inc., The Yankee Candle Company, Inc., and Sears, Roebuck & Company.

Besanko will be paid a minimum salary of $675,000 and will receive a signing bonus of $1.5 million.

In addition to his salary, Supervalu offered Besanko 225,000 shares of the company at the closing share price on August 7. On Wednesday afternoon the stock was trading up 2.3 percent at $7.91, at that price Besanko would receive $1.78 million from his stock options. He was also offered an additional 225,000 restricted company shares.
 
Besanko succeeds current Executive Vice President and CFO Sherry Smith, who was scheduled to leave the company at the end of May but was convinced to stay an extra couple months for a $300,000 bonus, in addition to her usual salary. Smith is scheduled to conclude her role as CFO on August 6.
 
Smith joined Supervalu in 1987 and has held a variety of positions in the corporate accounting and financial reporting areas of the company, including vice president, corporate controller, and treasurer. Prior to serving as CFO, Smith was the company’s senior vice president of finance for eight years.
 
The original plan for Smith’s departure, as well as the exit of Executive Vice President Todd Sheldon, was announced in April as part of Duncan’s plan to finalize his executive leadership team. Duncan was named CEO in February, shortly after Supervalu struck a $3.3 billion deal to sell off five of its grocery brands.
 
Supervalu reported sales of $17.1 billion for its 2013 fiscal year, which ended February 23, down from $36.1 billion the year before, following its recent sale of five grocery brands. The company has about 35,000 employees and owns about 3,420 retail stores. 

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