Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. (AWG) President and CEO David Smith will retire at the end of 2023 and Dan Funk, AWG’s COO, will succeed him, AWG announced on Wednesday.
“David’s retirement and leadership transition has been in the planning stages for several years,” said Barry Queen, AWG’s chairman of the board, in a statement. “The board has worked with him and a leading management consulting and recruiting firm along with the executive leadership team on a comprehensive and strategic succession plan for the past two years.”
On behalf of the board, Queen thanked Smith for his leadership and commitment to AWG and the member-retailers that will continue to count on his leadership next year.
“The legacy David will leave behind will be hard to follow, and his impact will be felt for years to come,” Queen said. “Dan's integrity and strategic mindset, coupled with his retail background, will enable him to lead AWG into the next chapter focused on the growth and success of the cooperative."
Smith joined AWG in 2003. In 2015 he became president and CEO. With 48 years overall in the industry and 36 years in wholesale, Smith saw the cooperative and membership grow for AWG from a Midwest company with 1,200 stores and three divisions with sales of $3.2 billion to a sprawling central U.S. company with retail sales exceeding $24 billion and wholesale sales exceeding $11 billion, AWG said in a statement.
Smith, who focused primarily on independent supermarket operators’ development and success throughout his career, expressed gratitude towards AWG.
“All in all, this experience serving as AWG's president and CEO has been the most incredible experience of my life and an unmerited gift,” Smith said in a statement. “I feel blessed to have been chosen to serve, lead, and embrace AWG as my home. The board went through a comprehensive and deliberate process, ultimately selecting Dan as the next-generation chief executive. His selection ensures the executive leadership of AWG will remain in the hands of proven leaders from within whom we all know and trust. I look forward to working closely with him in the coming year leading up to this transition."
Since joining AWG in 2012, Funk has held the positions of president of Valu Merchandisers Co. (VMC), SVP of grocery merchandising, EVP of merchandising and marketing, chief supply chain and merchandising officer, and most recently COO.
Prior to joining AWG, Funk held several food retail and wholesale positions for leading independent and chain grocers
"I am grateful to the board of directors, our cooperative members, and the AWG teammates for all your support as I transition into this new role,” Funk said in a statement. “I look forward to serving our team, membership, and the board of directors as we continue to support independent grocers in communities across America.”
Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. (AWG) is the nation’s largest cooperative food wholesaler to independently owned supermarkets, serving more than 1,100 member companies and more than 3,000 locations throughout 28 states from eight full-line wholesale divisions. In addition to its cooperative wholesale operations, the company also operates subsidiary companies that provide certain real estate and supermarket development services, print and digital marketing services, and health-and-beauty-care, general merchandise, specialty foods and pharmaceutical products.