KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. (AWG) announced that its president and CEO, David Smith, will retire at the end of 2023. Dan Funk, AWG’s COO, will assume the office upon Smith’s retirement.
Smith joined AWG in 2003 and became president and CEO in 2015. Smith has focused solely on independent supermarket operators’ development and success throughout his career. He is in his 48th year in the industry and 36th year of service in wholesale. During his time with AWG, he has seen the cooperative and membership grow from a Midwest company with 1,200 stores and three Divisions with sales of $3.2B to a sprawling central US company with retail sales exceeding $24B and wholesale sales exceeding $11B.
“David’s retirement and leadership transition has been in the planning stages for several years. The board has worked with him and a leading management consulting and recruiting firm along with the executive leadership team on a comprehensive and strategic succession plan for the past two years,” said Barry Queen, AWG’s chairman of the board.
Smith said, “All in all, this experience serving as AWG’s President and CEO has been the most incredible experience of my life and an unmerited gift. I feel blessed to have been chosen to serve, lead, and embrace AWG as my home. The board went through a comprehensive and deliberate process, ultimately selecting Dan as the next-generation chief executive. His selection ensures the executive leadership of AWG will remain in the hands of proven leaders from within whom we all know and trust. I look forward to working closely with him in the coming year leading up to this transition.”
Funk started his career with AWG as president of Valu Merchandisers Company (VMC) in October 2012. After two years leading the AWG subsidiary, he assumed the SVP of the Center Store role. In December 2015, Funk became EVP and chief merchandising and marketing officer. In January 2019, he became AWG’s first-ever chief supply chain and merchandising officer, and in 2020 became the COO of AWG. Before AWG, Funk held numerous food retail and wholesale positions for leading independent and chain grocers.
Funk stated, “I am grateful to the board of directors, our cooperative members, and the AWG teammates for all your support as I transition into this new role. I look forward to serving our team, membership, and the board of directors as we continue to support independent grocers in communities across America.”
Queen further stated, “On behalf of the board, I thank David for his leadership and commitment to AWG and the member-retailers that will continue to count on his leadership throughout the rest of 2023. The legacy David will leave behind will be hard to follow, and his impact will be felt for years to come. Dan’s integrity and strategic mindset, coupled with his retail background, will enable him to lead AWG into the next chapter focused on the growth and success of the cooperative.”
ABOUT ASSOCIATED WHOLESALE GROCERS, INC.
Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. (AWG) is the nation’s largest cooperative food wholesaler to independently owned supermarkets, serving over 1,100 member companies and over 3,400 locations throughout 31 states from 9 wholesale Divisions. Consolidated run-rate sales for AWG are over $11 billion. In addition to its cooperative wholesale operations, the company also operates subsidiary companies that provide certain real estate and supermarket development services, print and digital marketing services, health and beauty care, general merchandise, pharmaceutical products, specialty foods, and natural and organic products. For more information, visit AWGinc.com and follow @AWGCorporate on Twitter.