New Seasons Market CEO Wendy Collie Resigns as Chain Slows Expansion
PORTLAND, OR - This week marks a big change in direction for the New Seasons Market chain, which saw its CEO Wendy Collie step down as the company also announced plans to slow its expansion into the cities of San Francisco, Carmel, and Emeryville. Under Collie’s leadership, the company pursued an aggressive expansion strategy, opening a New Seasons Market in Seattle and acquiring New Leaf in 2013.
"The retail landscape in the grocery industry has been changing dramatically and with incredible speed over the last 6-18 months," said Collie, according to Oregon Business. "The leadership team, the board and myself, have been spending a lot of time thinking about how New Seasons is going to compete in a very volatile market, what is our position, and how do we think about strategy and organizational structure to make sure we’re setting up the company for long-term growth and success."
Since embarking on her tenure at New Seasons in 2012, Collie earned the grocery chain B Corp certification—marking it as the first grocery chain in the U.S. to earn this certification. She also reportedly boosted wages and benefits, as well as introduced paid paternal leave for employees. While Collie will stay on board through the month to help transition the company into its new leadership, New Seasons Market is now curating an entirely different leadership set-up, opting for two Co-Presidents instead of a single CEO. Kristi McFarland, Chief People Officer, and Forrest Hoffmaster, Chief Financial Officer, will take on the newly designed roles.
Alongside the transition comes Collie’s reassurance that she and the company believe in the strategic shift. She then expressed her faith in those who are gaining leadership command moving forward.
Moving ahead, the company intends to maintain its local vendor programs; however, it will also create more “meal solutions” and delivery options to expand the neighborly-vibe chain’s bandwidth. Further, while some Northern California New Seasons Markets won’t make their debut as soon as originally planned, the company's New Leaf banner is reportedly opening two new stores in Seattle and in Aptos, California.
With this new shift in strategy for the retailer as it heads into a year that promises stiff competition at retail, AndNowUKnow will keep an eye out on what this will mean for the produce industry.