Wegmans' Senior VP of Store Operations Set to Retire
ROCHESTER, NY - Many of us in the industry got our start by bagging groceries and stocking shelves. For some, it may have even been your first job in high school that somehow blossomed into an executive role. No matter the journey, these humble beginnings are often what forges great leaders. Jack DePeters of Wegmans Food Markets is one of such individuals, retiring from his position as Senior Vice President of Store Operations at the year’s end, and capping off a career that spanned over 52 years.
“Jack has played an immeasurable role in the success of our company by bringing our values to life and always putting people first,” said Danny Wegman, President of The Wegman Group. “His career has set an example of continuous learning and leadership for the many generations that followed.”
Like many, DePeters’ first job was at Wegmans as a 16-year-old part-time employee. After graduating from Aquinas Institute, he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from St. John Fisher College in 1973. DePeters then became a full-time employee, serving in many capacities, including as a Store Manager and a Buyer. He eventually moved from store operations to the merchandising side of the business, starting as Head Grocery Buyer and Director of Wegmans’ brand in 1982. Four years later, in 1986, he was named Director of Grocery, Dairy, and Frozen, a position he held until 1999 when he was named Senior Vice President of Store Operations. Over his long career, DePeters has implemented a number of important initiatives that kept Wegmans on the leading edge of the industry.
“When we listen to those closest to the work, we always find ways to get better,” said Jack. In response to that adage, he created Ask Jack, a program that allowed Wegmans employees to reach out directly to him with comments or suggestions. Since Ask Jack began in 2002, more than 16,000 employees have sent messages to Jack and received a response. Comments and responses that are deemed to be of broad interest are shared through Wegmans intranet on a page that receives about 130,000 ‘hits’ each year.
DePeters points to the words of the late Robert Wegman as inspiration: “Never think about yourself; always help others.” DePeters says, “Those words motivated me to create opportunities for our people to learn and grow, provide them with meaningful work, and deliver incredible service to each other and to our customers.”
DePeters has been on the St. John Fisher College Board of Trustees since 2007 and is the current Chairman. He has worked with the United Way of Greater Rochester since 1987, serving on a number of committees and as a member of its Board of Directors from 1999 until 2002. DePeters and his wife Donna have been Tocqueville members since 2010, and they jointly served as Tocqueville Chairs in 2017 and 2018.
When asked his proudest achievement, DePeters doesn’t hesitate: “The day I learned we were #1 on Fortune’s list of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For,’ and seeing how much this meant to our people.”
As the praises are aplenty, so too are the sentiments of those who will miss DePeters when he retires.
“Counting the number of people and families Jack has impacted throughout his professional career and through his community efforts would be an impossible feat,” added Wegman. “Our family is grateful for all that he has contributed to our company and our community.”
Bob Farr, who joined the company in 1980 at the age of 16, will succeed DePeters as Senior Vice President of Store Operations. Farr has had a long career in store operations, including as a Store Manager at several Rochester locations, and more recently as Virginia Division Manager and Senior Vice President.
From all of us here at ANUK, thank you to Jack DePeters for all you’ve done to support the industry.