DAYVILLE, Conn., Dec 03, 2003 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via Comtex/ -- United Natural Foods, Inc. (Nasdaq: UNFI) announced that during today's Board of Directors meeting, Steven H. Townsend, Chief Executive Officer of United Natural Foods, was elected Chair of the Board of Directors. Mr. Townsend, a member of the Board of Directors since December 2000 and the Company's Chief Executive Officer since January 2003, has enjoyed a successful career of more then 20 years with United Natural Foods. Thomas B. Simone, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, was elected to the newly created position of Lead Independent Director. Mr. Simone will be responsible for coordinating the activities of the Company's independent directors.
Michael S. Funk, who has served as Chair of the Board of Directors since January 2003 and has been a member of the Board of Directors since February 1996, is stepping down from the Chair position as the final component of the Company's current executive succession plan. Mr. Funk, who has been affiliated with United Natural Foods and its predecessors since 1976, will continue to provide strategic insight and counsel to the Company as a Director. Mr. Funk served as the Company's Vice Chair of the Board of Directors from February 1996 until December 2002, as its Chief Executive Officer from December 1999 until December 2002 and as President from October 1996 until December 1999.
Mr. Townsend commented, "Michael has devoted his entire career to United Natural Foods, helping to build an organization that has become the premier certified organic distributor in the United States. We recognize his tremendous achievements, thank him for his strong leadership and commitment and look forward to his continued counsel for many years to come."
Mr. Funk noted, "United Natural Foods is well positioned to continue its leadership position in the industry and I'm extremely pleased with the vision we've established for the Company. Steve is an experienced and strong leader, who has been increasingly involved in determining the direction of the Company. His appointment as Chair recognizes his deep operating experience, leadership skills and wealth of strategic perspective."
United Natural Foods' Board of Directors consists of 8 members, 5 of whom are independent.
Annual Meeting Results
The Company also announced the results of its Annual Meeting of Stockholders, held today at the Company's corporate offices located at 260 Lake Road, Dayville, CT 06241. United Natural Foods' stockholders elected three members to its Board of Directors, Richard Antonelli, Joseph M. Cianciolo and Stephen H. Townsend, each to serve a three year term as a Class I director until the Company's 2006 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. The Board presently consists of three classes of directors; each elected for a three- year term. Mr. Antonelli was elected to replace Kevin Michel who previously served on the Board of Directors as a Class I director.
Stockholders also ratified the continuing appointment of KPMG LLP as United Natural Foods' independent auditors for fiscal year 2004.
Stockholders can access a webcast replay of the annual meeting via the Investor Relations section of the Company's website at http://www.unfi.com . United Natural Foods will replay the webcast on their website through January 3, 2004.
About United Natural Foods
United Natural Foods, Inc. carries and distributes over 32,000 products to more than 14,000 customers nationwide. The Company serves a wide variety of retail formats including conventional supermarket chains, natural product superstores, independent retail operators and the food service channel. For more information on United Natural Foods, Inc., visit the Company's website at www.unfi.com .