Former Sobeys executive Jason Potter has joined The Fresh Market as chief executive officer, taking over from Larry Appel, who resigned. Potter took the CEO reins March 2, Greensboro, N.C.-based The Fresh Market announced.
Appel had served as the natural and organic grocer’s chief executive since September 2017. The Fresh Market gave no reason for his departure.
“The board of directors of The Fresh Market thanks Mr. Appel for his service as CEO over the last two-and-a-half years and offer him best wishes in his future endeavors,” The Fresh Market said in a released statement.
Owned by Apollo Global Management, The Fresh Market currently operates 159 stores in 22 states. Potter will be charged with leading a turnaround at the specialty supermarket chain, which has made a series of store closings in recent years as the company refocused expansion of its fresh gourmet concept and sharper brick-and-mortar and online competition bit into sales.
“I am thrilled to join The Fresh Market and look forward to working with all our team members in creating a highly differentiated specialty food retailing environment for our guests,” Potter stated. “Our goal will be to make The Fresh Market the go-to destination for customers looking for best-in-class perishables, unique itemization and high-touch customer service, all provided in a convenient, clean and accessible store format. I look forward to being part of the company’s future success as we accelerate the overall mission for The Fresh Market. In addition, I look forward to working with the board of directors and alongside Apollo, which has a long track record of success in building value in consumer and retail businesses.”
A more than 30-year grocery industry veteran, Potter comes to The Fresh Market after 27 years at Canadian food and drug retailer Sobeys, most recently as executive vice president of operations. In that role, he oversaw and had profit-and-loss responsibility for about 800 stores under the Sobeys, Safeway, Foodland and Thrifty banners. Before that, he served as president of Sobeys West, Sobeys Atlantic and multi-format operations. Potter left Sobeys in mid-2018.
“On behalf of the board of directors, I am very excited to welcome Jason to the team at The Fresh Market,” commented Chairman Andrew Jhawar, who is senior partner and head of the consumer and retail industry team at Apollo. “Jason is a proven executive with significant experience and success in the world of grocery retailing and operational turnarounds. He has demonstrated an ability to drive revenue and profit growth through innovation as well as improved operations, merchandising and marketing, which are skills that make him the ideal candidate to lead The Fresh Market’s continued turnaround efforts.”
Appel also had joined The Fresh Market amid a transformation effort, initiated by predecessor Rick Anicetti, who resigned in July 2017. Prior to The Fresh Market, Appel served as CEO of Skeeter Snacks and held various leadership roles over 10 years at Winn-Dixie Stores, including as chief operating officer. He joined Winn-Dixie from The Home Depot, where he was senior vice president of legal.
This piece originally appeared on Supermarket News, a New Hope Network sister website. Visit the site for more grocery trends and insights.