Gelson’s promotes John Bagan to CEO

Bagan will take the top spot at the 27-unit Southern California market chain from Rob McDougall, who is retiring.
John Bagan is the new CEO of Gelson's. / Photo courtesy: Gelson's

John Bagan has been promoted to CEO of Gelson’s, following the retirement of longtime leader Rob McDougall, the grocer announced late Monday.

This is Bagan’s third promotion in two years at the 27-unit Southern California market chain. He was named the retailer’s president in July after serving as COO.

In his new role, Bagan will take on greater responsibility for Gelson’s overall vision, business and growth strategy, the company said. He will also manage relationships with the grocer’s board of directors and parent company, Pan Pacific International Holdings.

He joined Gelson’s as chief merchandising officer in 2016, after holding executive-level merchandising and supply chain posts at Albertsons, Target and Guitar Center.

McDougall, who has spent nearly 50 years in the grocery industry, was hired at Gelson’s in 2007 and became CEO in 2014. During his time with the chain, he steered its growth from 18 to 27 stores, including opening three locations in San Diego in 2016. He increased the chain’s focus on fresh foods as well as local and organic products, “recognizing the changing habits of Southern California shoppers,” the retailer said. Before joining Gelson’s, McDougall served as COO and SVP of SpartanNash-owned D&W Food Centers from 1998 to 2006.

“His approach included customizing each Gelson’s to the needs of its community, while introducing new in-store social areas like wine bars and branded products like Gelson’s wines,” the Encino, California-based grocer said in a statement.

Gelson’s also announced the promotion of Rich Geillmore to VP of center store and Sean Saenz to VP of fresh foods.

The grocer on Monday also announced a host of title changes to reflect additional job responsibilities, including:

Clare Bogle, chief financial and administrative officer; Ron Johnson, chief information and supply chain officer; Tom Frattali, SVP of group synergies; Paul Kneeland, SVP of merchandising and sales; Tim Mahoney, SVP of operations; and Yvonne Manganaro, SVP of customer and team experience.

Gelson’s was founded in 1951 by brothers Bernard and Eugene Gelson “as an extraordinary grocery shopping experience for discerning customers,” according to the retailer’s website, with a focus on high-quality produce, meat, seafood, deli, wine, liquor and customer service.



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