Supervalu CFO Bruce Besanko leaves at short notice

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After about a year on the job
  • Accolades, praise, thanks and good wishes for Besanko
  • Rob Woseth taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 26, 2017 — Bruce Besanko, finance chief of Supervalu, leaves. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Supervalu Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, June 26, 2017, Bruce H. Besanko leaves the post as Chief Financial Officer at the grocery wholesaler in a surprising move after about a year on the job, effective July 05, 2017.

No company wants a CFO to flame out in the first years.

Besanko’s move comes 16 months after Mark Gross took over as CEO of Supervalu Inc.

Supervalu will undertake a search for a successor.

Besanko’s duties are taken over in the interim by Rob Woseth, currently Chief Strategy Officer at Supervalu Inc.

Besanko’s move is part of a management shake-up also involving the position of Chief Accounting Officer.

“To pursue an opportunity outside the Company”

The imminent management change is explained as follows. Supervalu said: “Bruce Besanko has informed the Company’s Board of Directors of his intention to resign his positions as Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer effective July 5, 2017 to pursue an opportunity outside the Company.”

The phrase “to pursue an opportunity outside the Company” opens the door to speculation.

Precise information about the future plans of Besanko was not immediately available.

“Resign”

Supervalu said: “On June 23, 2017, Bruce H. Besanko gave notice of intention to resign from his positions as Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer.”

Supervalu does not currently intend to fill the position of chief operating officer.

Share price decline

The change follows a sharp decline in the share price of Supervalu Inc. since April 2015.

Chaired by Gerald L. Storch

Supervalu Inc. is chaired by Gerald L. Storch.

Storch serves as Non-Executive Chairman and has been a director of Supervalu since January 2014.

CEO: Mark Gross

Mark Gross serves as CEO of Supervalu Inc. Mark Gross has been the Chief Executive Officer and President of Supervalu Inc. since February 28, 2016.

On the job as CFO since 2016

Bruce H. Besanko has been the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Supervalu Inc. since April 18, 2016 and October 1, 2015 respectively.

Bruce Besanko joined Supervalu in August 2013, and currently serves as executive vice president, chief financial officer, and chief operating officer.

In these roles, Besanko oversees the financial activities of the company as well as the company’s five regional retail food banners, and the company’s merchandising, marketing, and pharmacy functions.

Prior to joining Supervalu, Besanko served as executive vice president of finance, chief financial officer and chief administrative officer for OfficeMax.

He previously worked as executive vice president of finance and chief financial officer for Circuit City Stores Inc. and The Yankee Candle Company Inc.

He served as vice president of finance for Best Buy Co. Inc. and held multiple financial leadership positions at Sears, Roebuck & Co. and Atlantic Richfield Company.

Besanko joined the U.S. Air Force in 1982, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel during his 26 years of military service.

In 2003, Besanko received the Air Medal for numerous aerial combat missions over Iraq and Afghanistan as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

He also earned the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, and the Combat Readiness Medal, among others.

He serves as an admissions liaison officer for the United States Air Force Academy.

Besanko earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Cincinnati and holds a Master of Business Administration degree in finance and strategy from the University of Chicago.

He also serves on the Advisory Boards of the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago and McMicken College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Cincinnati.

Besanko is also member of the Board of Directors of the USO of Illinois.

Unplanned

As a general rule, when a top leader announces to step down with no permanent successor available, it’s a sign that the change was unplanned and too early.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Bruce Besanko’s imminent move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the management change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 27.2017 ($).