In Vivek Sankaran, Albertsons Has “Found Its Leader For The Future”

Albertsons Companies has “found its leader for the future” —  President and CEO Vivek Sankaran.

The former CEO of PepsiCo Foods North America on Thursday stepped into the top post of the Boise, Idaho-based grocer, while Jim Donald will continue as co-chairman of the board, with Leonard Laufer serving as the other co-chairman. Albertsons’ longtime leader Robert Miller has been named chairman emeritus and will continue to serve on the board.

“It is a great privilege to join a company that has such deep roots in American retail,” Sankaran said in the press release announcing the moves. “Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel Osco, Shaw’s, ACME, Tom Thumb, Randall’s, United Supermarkets, Market Street, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs – all of these banners and more in the Albertsons Companies family of stores have hundreds of years of combined history.”

“Our stores are integral to the lives of millions of customers each week,” he added. “I’m excited to build on the legacies of past CEOs Bob Miller and Jim Donald who both laid a solid foundation for success, and look forward to working with our associates to realize the opportunities and navigate the challenges in our evolving industry.”

The grocer has “found its leader for the future,” Winsight Grocery Business wrote. “The appointment of Sankaran, 56, represents a seasoned but relatively young leader to a company that has been pursuing a long-term leadership succession for some time.”

Donald in March 2018 was named the grocer’s COO before assuming the top role that September. He had been tapped after the planned deal with Rite Aid fell through that August, when the drugstore chain’s CEO John Standley was slated to take Albertsons’ top post.

“Sankaran brings a background in CPG and technology to a company with a solid foundation in grocery in the midst of a transition to omnichannel,” the publication wrote.

Prior to his role at PepsiCo, Sankaran served as the company’s president and COO, a position he was named to in 2016. “Over the last 3 years, he has led Frito Lay to industry-leading growth by remaining focused on innovation, technology and execution,” Albertsons’ press release stated.

Over his decade-long career at PepsiCo, in addition to leading Frito-Lay, Sankaran also served as the chief commercial officer for PepsiCo North America, chief customer officer of Frito Lay, and as the senior vice president of Strategy for PepsiCo. Before joining PepsiCo in 2009, Sankaran was a partner at McKinsey and Co.

He’s No. 51 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies

Headquarters: Boise, ID

Age: 55

Education: MBA, University of Michigan; Master’s Degree, Georgia Institute of Technology; Bachelor’s Degree, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras

First joined company: 2019

Prior to joining Albertsons: PepsiCo

Named CEO: 2019