In a transition that swaps technology guidance for operations expertise, the board of directors of Albertsons Cos. has appointed Chan Galbato as its board co-chairman, succeeding Leonard "Len" Laufer, who resigned the board and his role as co-chairman effective April 2.
Galbato and Laufer are colleagues at Cerberus Capital Management, Albertsons’ former majority owner. Galbato’s term expires at Albertsons’ 2021 annual meeting or until a successor is elected.
Albertsons in a filing said Laufer’s departure was not the result of any disagreement between the company, its management or the board and its committees, nor to any matter related to the company’s operations, practices or policies. The change, however, came days after Albertsons made a significant announcement that it was partnering with Google on a suite of tech solutions. Laufer had been co-chairman since the 2019 appointment of Vivek Sankaran as CEO. The Boise, Idaho-based company has heavily prioritized tech development since then.
Former Albertsons CEO Jim Donald, whom Sankaran succeeded as CEO, remains a co-chairman of Albertsons’ board.
Galbato currently serves as CEO of Cerberus Operations, the investment firm’s operations platform. He oversees the platform’s operating executives and functional experts to integrate operating expertise within Cerberus’ portfolio companies and investment strategies.
Galbato serves on the board of various Cerberus portfolio companies, including Electrical Components International, FirstKey Homes and Staples Solutions. He also is a board member for Blue Bird, a former Cerberus portfolio company where he previously was chairman, and AutoWeb. Galbato held board memberships for prior Cerberus investments, including chairman of Avon Products, chairman of YP, chairman of North American Bus Industries, chairman of Guilford Mills, director of New Avon, director of Tower International and director of DynCorp International. Separately, he was the lead director for Brady, a publicly traded manufacturing company.
Prior to joining Cerberus in 2009, Galbato was president and CEO of the Controls Division of Invensys PLC and separately, was the president of services at The Home Depot. Galbato also held the position of president and CEO of Armstrong Floor Products and prior to that, was the CEO of Choice Parts.
He spent 14 years with General Electric, holding several operating and GE Finance leadership positions within various industrial divisions as well as holding the role of president and CEO of Coregis, a GE Capital company.
Before beginning his corporate career, Galbato played two seasons of professional baseball with the Montreal Expos organization.
Galbato graduated from the State University of New York at Fredonia and received an MBA from the University of Chicago. Albertsons described Galbato as “an experienced business leader who provides our board with valuable insights into competitive strategy and organizational effectiveness.”
Laufer is the CEO of Cerberus Technology Solutions, the firm’s operating subsidiary focused on growing the understanding and use of technology, data and artificial intelligence in investment activities.
Prior to joining Cerberus in 2018, Laufer was the founder and head of intelligent solutions at JPMorgan Chase & Co., which focused on maturing and applying emerging technology and realizing value from the data assets of the bank. Prior to JPMorgan, Laufer co-founded and was CEO of Argus Information and Advisory Services. Since its inception in 1997, Argus grew to be the leading provider of information and analytical solutions to the payments industry and in 2012, it was sold to Verisk Analytics.