WMU News

Food marketing alumnus to head grocery cooperative

Aug. 1, 2002

SEATTLE -- An alumnus of Western Michigan University's Food Marketing Program has taken the helm of the largest cooperative serving independent grocery stores in the Northwest United States.

Robert P. Hermanns has been named president and chief executive officer of Associated Grocers. The latest step in a two-year management and financial restructuring, the appointment comes after a six-month, nationwide search.

Hermanns is experienced in all phases of retail and wholesale operations and is an ideal choice to take the Seattle-based cooperative forward, according to Morrie Olson, chair of the search committee for AG's board of directors.

"Mr. Hermanns brings to AG a wealth of retail grocery experience, covering the spectrum of merchandising formats, including a successful senior management position in the wholesale grocery distribution business," says Olson. "We believe that under his leadership, AG will be able to continue to grow and serve its strong base of independent grocers in the Northwest."

Hermanns has more than 30 years of leadership experience in the food business. Most recently, he served as chief operating officer of Weis Markets, a $2 billion company that operates 163 retail food markets in the Mid-Atlantic States. In that role, Hermanns was responsible for growing sales, improving operational performance and restructuring the operating organization. He also has held leadership positions with Lucky Stores, American Stores Co. and Jewel Food Stores.

A 1965 graduate of WMU, Hermanns earned his bachelor's degree in food distribution with minors in marketing and general business. He also received an MBA from the University of Southern California.

Associated Grocers provides food distribution and retail services to 323 retail grocery stores throughout Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the Pacific Rim.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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