Sysco Appoints New President and CEO
- by Chandler James
HOUSTON, TX - The individuality that leaders bring to the table inevitably impacts the business they lead, especially when it comes to such pivotal roles as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The global foodservice distribution company, Sysco Corporation, recently announced some important changes to its leadership team, stating that current President and CEO Tom Bené will be stepping down from his roles effective January 31. Bené will stay on as an Executive Advisor until March 1, to be available to assist with a smooth and orderly transition of leadership. The Board of Directors unanimously elected Kevin Hourican as the company’s new President and CEO, who will start on February 1.
“I have been honored to lead Sysco over the last few years and I am incredibly proud of all that our team has accomplished,” said Bené. “Sysco’s leading market position in the foodservice industry, our unique capabilities, and talented associates have positioned us well for the future. It has truly been an honor and a privilege to work alongside our 69,000 dedicated associates to bring our strategy to life.”
According to a press release, Sysco’s board believes that these senior leadership changes will enable the company to accelerate performance, fully capitalize on its scale advantages, and drive meaningful operating improvements. Specifically, the board believes Hourican’s expertise across key company capabilities—sales, supply chain, logistics, operations, and digital technologies—will unlock meaningful value for customers and other key stakeholders. Hourican most recently served as Executive Vice President of CVS Health and President of CVS Pharmacy and is a proven business leader with two decades of experience driving market-leading growth for large organizations.
“I am thrilled to join the Sysco team. Sysco has an exceptional business model and significant headroom for profitable growth,” Hourican commented. “I look forward to working with Ed, the Board, and the talented global team to continue the company’s success and identify new opportunities to enhance our market leadership and long-term growth prospects."
Prior to joining CVS Health, Hourican held executive leadership roles at Macy’s, most recently serving as Senior Vice President, Regional Director of Stores, responsible for the management of 110 department stores in the Mid-Atlantic region. He holds an undergraduate degree in economics and a master’s degree in supply chain management from The Pennsylvania State University.
In addition to this monumental transition, Sysco elected the lead Independent Director Ed Shirley as Executive Chair, replacing Tom Bené. Additionally, Brad Halverson has been elected as the new lead Independent Director. Both changes will be effective January 13.
As Executive Chair, Shirley will work closely with Hourican to ensure a smooth and successful transition, lead the Board of Directors, and provide input on key strategic priorities.
“We are pleased to welcome Kevin as our new president and CEO,” Shirley began. “Kevin brings a demonstrated track record of delivering strong growth, market share gains, customer service improvement, and operational efficiencies within large and complex environments, having run an $85 billion business and leading large divisions at multi-unit retailers. He takes a strategic approach to winning in underdeveloped markets while driving new innovation. The board is highly confident Kevin has the skill set and vision to capture the opportunities ahead and we look forward to working with him and the full leadership team to deliver enhanced value for shareholders.”
He continued, “Tom has made many significant contributions to Sysco and the board and I are grateful for his leadership, integrity, and dedication to our associates and customers. During his seven years at Sysco, he led important strategic initiatives that strengthened the company’s overall performance and increased shareholder value. As CEO, he also renewed our focus on the customer, fostered a culture of empowerment, and elevated the importance of corporate social responsibility, all of which will underpin our future success. The entire board thanks Tom for his dedication and service and we wish him well in his next endeavors.”
Shirley joined Sysco’s board in 2016 and has served as lead Independent Director since November 2018. He has substantial experience in executive leadership, strategy development, marketing/brand development, and business operations, both domestically and globally, developed in his various senior executive positions with large consumer products companies.
“As part of a deliberate and thoughtful process to ensure Sysco is best positioned for its next phase of development, we are pleased to announce Kevin Hourican as the company’s new president and CEO,” said Larry Glasscock, Chairman of the Governance and Nominating Committee. “The board believes Kevin’s leadership and skill set align strongly with Sysco’s strategic priorities in this next phase of accelerated growth. Moreover, Ed’s familiarity with the company and deep experience over decades running highly successful consumer businesses will ensure a smooth leadership transition.”
Brad Halverson joined the board in 2016 and is the former Group President, Financial Products and Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer of Caterpillar Inc.
Regarding the financial outlook, Sysco remains confident in its ability to achieve its financial objectives and is aligned with current fiscal year consensus estimates. Congratulations to the company on such integral leadership changes!