Anthony Hucker will be next-man-up to take the helm for Jacksonville, FL’s Southeastern Grocers as it faces an onslaught of competition from newcomers and familiar foes in the grocery wars’ ground zero here in the Southeast.
Hucker became Interim President and CEO July 1 following the departure of Ian McLeod, who sat in the big chair for two and a half years. The post became permanent this week.
Southeastern Grocers was created when BI-LO and the long-embattled Winn-Dixie chain merged forces. Southeastern also operates the growing Harveys banner and the increasingly popular Hispanic chain Fresco y Más in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Southeastern is the second largest grocer in the Southeast in number of stores. But it faces stiff competition from Lakeland, FL-based Publix, German discount newcomer Lidl and its chief German rival Aldi, and online assaults from all sides, including the Amazon/Whole Foods behemoth that’s currently bubbling in Jeff Bezos’ laboratory.
Before joining Southeastern, Hucker was President and COO of Schnucks, based in St. Louis, MO, one of the Midwest’s leading food retailers and one of the largest privately held supermarket chains in the U.S. He was also President of Giant Food, based in Washington DC, the Mid-Atlantic’s premier grocery chain, and served on the executive board of Ahold USA.
Before that, Hucker spent seven years at Wal-Mart in a variety of leadership positions, internationally and domestically. He began as the CIO of the Americas, formed the Global Format Development Division and was promoted to head of strategy and business development for Wal-Mart USA and was a corporate officer of the world’s largest retailer.
Hucker’s passion for the food retail industry strengthened while he was pursuing an Honours degree from the Metropolitan University of Manchester, UK in Retail Marketing and an International Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK. During this time, he worked as a food industry analyst reporting on pan-European stocks to the City of
London. He then worked for 10 years German giant Aldi, where he served in a variety of leadership assignments in Germany, the U.S. and Austria, and was part of the original startup leadership team that set up Aldi UK.
“I’m grateful to our leadership team for the smooth transition over the past six weeks and I’m excited for the opportunity to continue to drive the strategic direction of the company. I’m humbled and honored to lead our team of more than 50,000 associates who are our greatest assets, putting our customers first, always,” Hucker said. “Over the past two years, we’ve made substantial progress in our transformation and we’re ready to push forward.”