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Hy-Vee CEO to retire, tabs COO as successor
December 15th, 2011
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Ric Jurgens, chairman and chief executive officer of Hy-Vee Inc., plans to retire from the company in the middle of next year.
Jurgens told shareholders at the food and drug retailer's annual meeting Wednesday that he will retire on June 1.
He also said that he will ask Hy-Vee's board, at its May meeting, to elect president and chief operating officer Randy Edeker to succeed him as chairman and CEO.
The 62-year-old Jurgens has been Hy-Vee's chairman and CEO since 2006 and been with the company 42 years.
He began his career as a part-time employee in Ames while attending Iowa State University. After graduating, he accepted a full-time position and moved up through the ranks, serving as a store director and regional manager before being named president of Perishable Distributors of Iowa, a Hy-Vee subsidiary, in 1986. He returned to the parent company in 1995 as senior vice president and chief administrative officer, and in 2001 he succeeded Ron Pearson to become the third president in Hy-Vee's history. In 2003, he was elected CEO, and in 2006 he succeeded Pearson as Hy-Vee's chairman.
With Jurgens as CEO, Hy-Vee grew to 235 stores in eight states and lifted sales to a record $7.3 billion for 2011. In recent years, the chain developed a reputation as an industry leader in health and wellness via innovations such as in-store dietitians, the NuVal nutritional scoring system and the Hy-Vee Triathlon. Jurgens has been an industry leader as well, serving a two-year term as chairman of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI).
"I feel extremely fortunate to have spent my entire career working for a great company filled with great people," Jurgens said in a statement. "It has been an honor to lead a team of nearly 60,000 employees dedicated to our mission of making lives easier, healthier and happier, and I'm proud of the things we have been able to accomplish together as a Hy-Vee family. We have a skilled management group in place to help propel Hy-Vee to even greater heights, so I will leave this summer with a great deal of confidence in the future of the company."
Edeker, 49, commented that Jurgens' leadership has made Hy-Vee a stronger, more focused and more innovative retailer.
"Ric helped us refine our mission and our vision and never let us lose sight of the fact that everything we do as a company is done in service to the customer," Edeker stated. "Even in the midst of the economic downturn, he encouraged us to be proactive and find new ways to improve the customer experience in our stores. His wise counsel and the confidence he places in all of us have made him the right leader at the right time for Hy-Vee."
Hy-Vee is one of the nation's largest pharmacy retailers, with estimated pharmacy dollar sales of about $940 million, according to the Chain Drug Review 2011 Annual Report of Retail Pharmacy. More than 200 of Hy-Vee's supermarkets have pharmacies, and the company also operates the stand-alone Hy-Vee Drugstores pharmacy chain, which has about 20 stores.