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UNFI Taps Coca-Cola Exec for Chief Strategy Role

Louis Martin will oversee the wholesaler’s long-term growth strategy in newly created position
Louis Martin
Photograph courtesy of UNFI

United Natural Foods Inc. has appointed Louis Martin, current president of the global Walmart customer team for The Coca-Cola Co., to the newly created position of chief strategy and transformation officer.

Martin will join UNFI on March 21 and oversee the food wholesaler’s long-term growth strategy, the company said in a release.

“As we execute and evolve our 'Fuel the Future' strategy, we are committed to building on both existing and new business platforms to deliver long-term, sustainable growth," said UNFI CEO Sandy Douglas. "The creation of this new role reflects our confidence in the value UNFI is positioned to generate across our entire ecosystem, including customers, suppliers, partners, and investors." Douglas added: "Louis is a seasoned leader with both a strategic and an operations background. His addition to our team will help drive UNFI’s next chapter of growth."

Earlier this year, UNFI appointed another Coca-Cola veteran to a newly created role: In January, the company announced that Matt Echols would become chief corporate affairs officer, effective March 1, with oversight of the company’s corporate communications and engagement, public policy, government relations, and environmental, social and governance (ESG) teams.

Under the new leadership structure, Martin will report to Douglas and oversee UNFI’s revenue management, M&A, continuous improvement and project management office. He will also work to unleash new capabilities around supply chain, technology, data standardization and automation acceleration. Matt Whitney will maintain responsibility for UNFI’s critical growth platforms, including professional services, e-commerce and emerging business units, as chief growth officer.

"I am excited to join UNFI and play a role in accelerating the many growth opportunities ahead," Martin said. "I look forward to engaging with the talented UNFI team as we build new capabilities to enhance our customer experience." 

Through his 15 years with Coca-Cola, Martin held a range of positions with increasing responsibility, from strategic initiatives, where he led the post-acquisition integration of the Glaceau beverage business into the North America bottling system, to investor relations, where he supported the development and communication of Coca-Cola’s long-term strategic vision to the investment community. Before leading the Global Walmart Customer team, he was SVP of system evolution for Coca-Cola North America, where he guided the refranchising and transformation efforts of Coca-Cola’s North American bottling, distribution and supply chain businesses.

Prior to working with Coca-Cola, Martin worked at McKinsey & Co. leading strategic and operational transformation initiatives globally, including in the U.S., Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, Switzerland and Japan. Martin has a bachelor’s degree in English from Princeton University as well as an MBA in finance and management from the Stern School of Business at New York University.

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