United Natural CEO Steve Spinner leaves his post

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After almost 13 years in the position
  • Accolades and praise for Spinner
  • Search for a successor
  • Spinner will remain as Executive Chairman at United Natural
  • Spinner spoke at length and said 146 words

(exechange) — Providence, Rhode Island, September 28, 2020 — Steve Spinner, chief executive of United Natural, leaves his position. As announced by United Natural Foods Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, September 28, 2020, Steven L. (Steve) Spinner leaves his post as chief executive officer at the food wholesaler after almost 13 years in the role, effective July 31, 2021, or earlier upon the appointment of a successor.

United Natural will undertake a search for a successor.

Long goodbye

It is a long goodbye. The announcement of Steve Spinner’s move comes up to 10 months prior to his planned departure from the post of CEO.

In general, a top executive who announces the departure particularly early may be considered a lame duck.

Lengthy lead times give boards extra time to find replacements, and they also create uncertainty. Would-be successors may jockey for attention and workers may wonder who is actually in charge.

Generally speaking, lame-duck leaders can take a forceful role in selecting a successor and are not expected to launch major shifts.

“Now is the right time”

Steve Spinner’s departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Spinner said: “In close collaboration with the Board, I decided now is the right time for the Company to transition to its next leader.”

Spinner will remain as Executive Chairman at United Natural

“Mr. Spinner has agreed to remain on the Board to serve as Executive Chairman following his retirement as CEO,” United Natural said.


United Natural said: “On September 23, 2020, Steven L. Spinner informed the Board of his intention to retire as Chief Executive Officer after the conclusion of the term of his employment agreement on July 31, 2021, or earlier upon the appointment of a successor.”

Share price decline

The announcement follows a decline in United Natural Foods Inc.’s share price of 63% since September 2015.

In the position of CEO since 2008

Steve Spinner became CEO of the Company in 2008.

Steven L. Spinner has served as Chairman of the Board since December 2016 and as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board since September 2008.

He also served as the Company’s President from September 2008 until August 2018.

Prior to joining the Company in September 2008, Spinner served as a director and as Chief Executive Officer of Performance Food Group Company (“PFG”) from October 2006 to May 2008, when PFG was acquired by affiliates of The Blackstone Group and Wellspring Capital Management.

Spinner previously had served as PFG’s President and Chief Operating Officer beginning in May 2005.

Spinner served as PFG’s Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer—Broadline Division from February 2002 to May 2005 and as PFG’s Broadline Division President from August 2001 to February 2002.

Spinner has served as a Director of ArcBest Corporation, a holding company of businesses providing integrated logistics solution, since July 2011 and as its Lead Independent Director since April 2016.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange gauges the pressure surrounding the management change on a scale of 0 to 10.

exechange reached out to United Natural and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 40.2020 ($).