UNFI Announces Pending CEO Retirement; Q4 Sales Tick Up 0.4%

Steven Spinner will retire as CEO next July 31, or earlier if UNFI appoints a successor sooner.

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PROVIDENCE, RI — United Natural Foods, Inc. announced Tuesday that Steven Spinner has informed the board of directors 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. Spinner has agreed to remain on the board to serve as executive chairman following his retirement as CEO.

In connection with Spinner’s upcoming retirement, the board has initiated a search to identify UNFI’s next CEO and, consistent with good governance practices, has engaged a leading executive search firm to assist in the process. The CEO search will include both internal and external candidates.

SpinnerSpinnerSpinner stated: “It has been my honor to lead UNFI over these past 12 years and a pleasure to have worked alongside our exceptional associates. We serve an important mission of delivering food to millions of people every single day. When reflecting on my tenure as CEO, I’m most proud of our people and our culture, where our shared beliefs drive everything we do. The future has never been stronger for UNFI as our integration work is nearing completion and we now look toward expansion of new services, technologies, brands and our vast supply chain network. In close collaboration with the Board, I decided now is the right time for the Company to transition to its next leader. As we enter the next chapter, I have great confidence in the strength of our team and the opportunities ahead and look forward to my continued service as Executive Chairman.”

Peter Roy, UNFI’s lead independent director, said: “Over the last 12 years, Steve has made many valuable contributions to UNFI, including growing our customer base, adapting our business to the demands of the digital marketplace, executing on value-enhancing acquisitions and, most recently, fulfilling UNFI’s role as a critical link in the North American food supply chain during an unprecedented global pandemic. Throughout his tenure, Steve has methodically and consistently led UNFI to new heights, increasing annual sales from $3 billion to over $26 billion today. At the same time, Steve has fostered a strong set of core values across the Company, building and inspiring a talented team around him and living UNFI’s commitment to serve our customers and the communities in which we operate. The board is conducting a comprehensive search to identify the best candidate to serve as our next CEO, and we look forward to continuing to benefit from Steve’s strategic oversight and institutional knowledge as Executive Chairman.”

Q4 and Full-Year Fiscal Results

On Tuesday, UNFI also reported financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended August 1.

Fiscal 2020 Full Year Highlights (Fiscal 2019 was a 53 week year that included the contribution from an acquisition for 41 weeks)

  • Net sales increased to $26.5 billion
  • Net loss of $(274) million, including $425 million pre-tax goodwill and asset impairment charges recorded in the first quarter of fiscal 2020
  • Adjusted EBITDA increased to $673 million
  • Loss per diluted share (EPS) improved to $(5.10)
  • Adjusted EPS increased to $2.72
  • Reduced outstanding debt, net of cash, by $388 million; year-end adjusted EBITDA leverage ratio of 4.0x

Fourth Quarter Fiscal 2020 Highlights

  • Net sales increased 0.4% to $6.75 billion, an 8.0% increase on a comparable basis
  • Net income increased 173.7% to $52 million, a 207.1% increase on a comparable basis
  • Adjusted EBITDA increased 19.3% to $198 million, a 27.9% increase on a comparable basis
  • Earnings per diluted share (EPS) increased 147.2% to $0.89, a 177.9% increase on a comparable basis
  • Adjusted EPS increased 202.9% to $1.06, a 205.2% increase on a comparable basis

“Fiscal 2020 was a monumental year for UNFI as the demonstrated flexibility and strength of our supply chain network led to full year results that exceeded our expectations,” said Steven L. Spinner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “At the same time, we’re focused on keeping our associates safe and maintaining the food supply chain for communities across North America through the unprecedented events of 2020, including the pandemic, civil unrest, and natural disasters. We’re continuing to execute with passion and purpose on our strategy and expect further growth in fiscal 2021.”

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