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Unified Announces Senior Team Promotions and Additions

COMMERCE, Calif., Jan. 20, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Unified Grocers, the largest wholesale grocery distributor in the western United States, has made a number of key internal promotions and additions to its leadership team designed to support its growth strategy. "To continue our recent momentum will take imaginative and energetic leadership," said President and CEO Bob Ling in announcing the changes. "That means continuing to develop and add to our senior team, giving opportunities to those who have proved themselves ready to take the next step in their careers and adding the best talent from outside the company."

Key among the announced changes are three promotions within the company's senior management team. President of Market Centre Joe Falvey and Chief Marketing Officer Sue Klug have been elevated to Executive Vice President, and Chief Information Officer Gary Herman has been promoted to Senior Vice President.

Joe Falvey has been with the company since 1999 and has been instrumental in driving the successful growth of Unified's Specialty division, Market Centre. Under his leadership, Market Centre has become an integral part of what sets Unified apart from the competition, creating new sales opportunities in growing categories such as organic, natural and ethnic foods.

Sue Klug has served as Chief Marketing Officer since joining Unified in 2012. She is responsible for all Corporate Marketing and Communications activities, as well as the company's Retail Marketing Service and Retail Technology functions. Sue has already elevated Unified's marketing efforts in a number of areas, developing new strategies including a robust scan data program giving retail insights to our retail members and the company's successful Celebremos! and MercadoSavings Hispanic marketing programs. In an expanded role, she is now responsible for Strategic Sourcing and Real Estate. In addition, Sue — working closely with members of our board — will take a leadership role in strategic planning.

Gary Herman has been Unified's Chief Information Officer since 2000, overseeing the company's Information Services function. Under Gary's direction, Unified maintains state-of-the-art logistics systems and an extranet that ties together the company's vendors, buyers and retail members.

"Joe, Sue and Gary have proven track records of delivering solid results for our organization," said Ling. "All are dynamic leaders whose vision and passion have helped drive Unified's recent successes. They will play important roles in driving the next phase of the company's growth."

In addition, the company announced a number of additions to the executive team.

Mike Brown has been promoted to Vice President of Retail Services. Mike is responsible for all Retail Services, including Merchandising, Advertising, Retail Pricing, Consumer Insights, and Retail Technology. His tremendous understanding of the industry and his broad knowledge of Unified's systems, products and services will be key assets as we continue to provide exceptional services and develop cutting-edge technology products for our retail partners.

Blake Larson has been promoted to Vice President, Accounting. He is responsible for internal accounting and reporting, including business unit financial reporting and support, budgeting and forecasting, financial analysis, pricing support and analysis, as well as financial systems support. In addition, Blake is assuming responsibility for operational analysis and accounts payable.

Keith Miller has been promoted to Vice President, Market Centre Operations. Keith has already proven to be an effective leader driving Market Centre's business strategies, identifying opportunities for operational improvements and implementing revenue building initiatives. In his new role, Keith also takes charge of procurement for Specialty/Gourmet, Hispanic, Natural, General Merchandise and Health/Beauty/Wellness.

Ray VanWetten has been promoted to Vice President of Sales for the Pacific Northwest. Ray has demonstrated keen leadership abilities over his 14-year career with Unified, and in his new role he will be responsible for driving sales growth in the Pacific Northwest marketplace.

Unified also welcomes a new member of the team, Gregg Bostick. Gregg has joined the company in the position of Vice President, Logistics. He brings a wealth of experience in food distribution with Americold Logistics, SuperValu, Pinnacle Foods and C&S Wholesale Grocers. Gregg will oversee company-wide distribution, transportation and maintenance functions. In this key position, he will be responsible for developing logistics and distribution strategies to meet the needs of our members.

In announcing the changes, Ling took the opportunity to thank retiring Vice President of Real Estate Gary Hammett. "Gary has contributed a tremendous amount in a distinguished 15-year career with Unified," said Ling. "His contributions will continue to serve us well into the future."

About Unified Grocers, Inc.

Founded in 1922, Unified Grocers is a retailer-owned wholesale grocery distributor that supplies independent retailers throughout the western United States. Unified, which generated approximately $3.9 billion in sales during fiscal 2014, offers independent retailers all the resources they need to compete in the supermarket industry. For more information about Unified Grocers, visit: http://www.unifiedgrocers.com.

CONTACT: Bob Hutchins, Communications Manager (206) 763-7966 bhutchins@unifiedgrocers.com

Source: Unified Grocers