Vivek Sankaran, CEO of PepsiCo Foods North America, has been appointed President and CEO of Albertsons Cos., effective immediately.
He succeeds Jim Donald, who will become co-chairman along with Leonard Laufer, a technology-focused executive of majority owner Cerberus Capital Management who is currently serving on Albertsons’ board.
With 2,269 stores and 267,000 employees, Idaho-based Albertson’s is the second-largest supermarket chain in North America after Kroger. It’s 2018 revenues were reportedly $60.4 billion.
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 was brought out of retirement in March 2018 as COO and was promoted to CEO that September.
“Vivek brings a rare blend of CPG, retail, manufacturing, logistics, technology, and research and development to Albertsons Cos., all of which are key components to being a successful retailer in an omnichannel-driven environment,” said Jim Donald. “Moreover, Vivek has the keen understanding that the front line is directly linked to the bottom line, and I'm confident he will inspire and engage our 270,000 associates across our stores, support offices, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers.”
“It is a great privilege to join a company that has such deep roots in American retail,” Sankaran said in a statement.
Sankaran was named CEO of PepsiCo Foods North America in December 2018. Prior to that, he served as the company's president and chief operating officer, 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. Over his ten-year 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 Company, where he served various Fortune 100 companies, bringing a strong focus on strategy and operations.
Sankaran has an MBA from the University of Michigan, a master's degree in manufacturing from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai.