Wholesalers & Distributors

UNFI Names Matt Whitney Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer

Promotion involves leading wholesaler’s Professional Services, e-commerce business units
UNFI logo; Matt Whitney
Photograph courtesy of UNFI

Indicative of United Natural Foods’ commitment to innovation, the Providence, R.I.-based wholesaler has promoted Matt Whitney to chief strategy and innovation officer, effective immediately.

In this new role, Whitney will be responsible for leading UNFI’s Professional Services and e-commerce business units while also developing new business models, pursuing innovation opportunities and implementing several ongoing strategic initiatives to complement its base wholesale business.

“UNFI is focused on innovation and finding new ways to support our customers beyond a traditional distribution model. Our Professional Services and e-commerce teams are two critical growth vehicles that help make our customers stronger, more differentiated, and under Matt’s leadership, these teams will help them continue to grow and flourish,” said UNFI President Chris Testa. “His cross-functional leadership, business acumen and strong strategic thinking will help us deliver results and ensure we are best positioned for future growth.”

On the e-commerce front, UNFI in April launched Community Marketplace, a web store that gives its retail customers the opportunity to offer a wider variety of items, while providing suppliers a proving ground for new and unique items.

Whitney joined UNFI in early 2020 as SVP of sales strategy and business transformation, leading the company’s Value Path initiative, a cross-functional effort to identify sales growth, product efficiencies and cost containment opportunities.

Prior to joining UNFI, Whitney was corporate VP of field transformation for Sysco, where he also was EVP of its Boston division, and head of the integration management office for Sysco’s proposed acquisition of US Foods. Earlier in his career, Whitney worked in strategy consulting and mergers and acquisitions. He has a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University in Massachusetts, and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

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