Wakefern’s board of directors appoints cooperative’s next president

Keasbey-based Wakefern Food Corp. on Monday said Mike Stigers will assume the role of president, effective June 1.

Following an extensive national search, Stigers will replace current President Joe Sheridan, who announced his retirement last year. Sheridan’s departure ends a successful 47-year career with the cooperative, including the past 11 years as president.

Stigers brings with him five decades of industry experience and a distinguished track record in both the retail and wholesale sides of the business to the nation’s largest retailer-owned cooperative, with member companies that own and operate supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, the Fresh Grocer, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners.

Wakefern Chairman Joe Colalillo said, “Wakefern will benefit from that broad knowledge base and leadership experience.”

Stigers’ first job was as a part-time courtesy clerk at Safeway in his home state of California. Throughout his career, he gained invaluable experience in the areas of operations, merchandising, retail technology, food safety, supply chain and fresh food. His achievements and executive leadership expertise uniquely position him to assume the role of president of Wakefern and lead it successfully into the future.

Since 2019, Stigers has served as CEO of Minnesota-based Cub Foods, a subsidiary of UNFI, the natural and organic food company headquartered in Rhode Island. Prior to that, he spent eight years at SuperValu, beginning in 2011 as the president of Shaw’s/Star Market in New England. In 2013, he went on to lead SuperValu’s northern wholesale region and then in 2014, he was named president of Cub Foods. In 2016, he was promoted to the position of executive vice president, SuperValu Wholesale and Supply Chain Services, and occupied that role until it was acquired by UNFI in 2018.

Stigers is also active in industry trade associations, having served as the past president of Western Association of Food Chains. He is the immediate past chair of the National Grocers Association, having served as the chair of the venerable organization from 2020-2021. NGA represents thousands of independent, community grocery stores throughout the U.S.

“Wakefern’s unique culture and structure is at the heart of its success. I believe Mike Stigers is the right leader who will preserve the best of who we are and at the same time continue to move Wakefern forward. I look forward to working with him through the transition process,” said Sheridan.

Stigers noted: “I am excited to join Wakefern at this important time in its history. The strength of the cooperative and its solid position as a regional grocery is well-known in the industry. I am looking forward to joining the team and working alongside the cooperative membership to help shape its future.”