Associated Grocers announces succession plan

Associated Grocers has designated Emile R. Breaux as the successor to J.H. “Jay” Campbell, the company’s current president and CEO.

Campbell, 62, has not publicly said when he will retire, other than saying it will happen “sometime within the next few years.”

Breaux, a native of New Orleans who turns 50 later this month, said the Associated Grocers board of directors wanted to have a succession plan in place to provide for an orderly and efficient transition.

“Jay Campbell has more energy than people half his age,” Breaux said. “But in an organization this large, this complex, there’s got to be a proper transition.”

Breaux, who has an MBA from the University of New Orleans, has been with Associated Grocers, of Baton Rouge, since June 1994, and held a variety of positions, including information services, procurement, marketing and sales.

His new title is executive vice president, chief operating officer. Breaux was executive vice president of retail operations.

He primarily aided the more than 220 independent grocery stores that AG supplies in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas with everything from helping develop new locations to ongoing strategic support to merchandising.

Campbell, who has been with Associated Grocers since January 1972, has been president since February 1995. Last month, he was awarded the Herbert Hoover Award for humanitarian service to the food industry by the Food Marketing Institute, a trade organization that represents nearly 40,000 stores and 25,000 pharmacies. It was announced earlier this week he will receive the Baton Rouge Epicurean Society’s Grace “Mama” Marino Lifetime Achievement Award at its annual Fête Rouge award dinner Aug. 21.

While Breaux said he has a background in helping Associated Grocers’ stores better understand retail trends and provide better shopping experiences for customers, he doesn’t have as much experience on the other half of the company’s business: wholesale operations.

“I’m going to debrief the more than 40 years of knowledge in Jay’s head,” he said.

Breaux earned his bachelor’s degree from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be in this position,” he said. “I appreciate the support of our retailers and our great support staff here at AG.”

Associated Grocers has annual sales of more than $690 million and more than 660 employees.