Following a nationwide search, New York-based retail and consumer focused executive search firm Herbert Mines Associates has placed Gil Phipps as the new senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Sprouts Farmers Market in Phoenix, AZ. President Brenda Malloy led the search along with managing director Alison Weil and vice president Caitlin Kenefick.
“We’re extremely pleased to welcome Gil to the Sprouts team,” said Jack Sinclair, CEO of Sprouts. “The experience Gil brings will be instrumental in shaping Sprouts’ long-term strategy to build brand awareness and loyalty with our core shopper, including strengthening and defining our private label business.
With more than 20 years of experience in the grocery industry, Mr. Phipps joins Sprouts from Cincinnati-based Kroger Co., the parent company of Arizona’s Fry’s Food Stores. At Kroger, he served as vice president of branding and marketing. In this role, Mr. Phipps was heavily involved in the development of the Simple Truth brand, which took natural and organic and the “pure foods” trend to mainstream retail and helped private brands become a leading sales driver and competitive advantage driver at Kroger.
Prior to this, Mr. Phipps spent more than 11 years at H-E-B where he held various positions, including most recently director of own brands, where he oversaw branding, innovation, product development, packaging and design. Before that, he led new product development and category management for Hormel Foods. Mr. Phipps started his grocery career in 1987 as store director of Fresh Plus Grocery in Austin, TX.
In his new role with Sprouts, Mr. Phipps will oversee the company’s marketing, advertising, customer engagement and private label teams. “I am extremely humbled to join Sprouts, a brand that I’ve long admired for innovation and purpose,” Mr. Phipps said. “Providing communities access to healthy, affordable foods is more important today than ever before, and I look forward to helping the brand connect even further with customers nationwide in meaningful ways with the products they need and desire.”
With two decades of marketing experience, the publication Grocery Drive suggests that Mr. Phipps could be instrumental in helping the natural grocer strengthen its private label portfolio, a segment he holds particular expertise in as he helped transformed Kroger into a private label powerhouse. Sprouts has steadily increased its private label penetration in recent years, and is set to push the needle further as competing chains make store brands core to their sales strategies. In October, Mr. Sinclair said that Sprouts’ selection has increased to over 2,000 own brands, but the company was offering too many sub-brands.
“We plan to build a cohesive private label brand, streamlining and improving our communication to customers that maximize the Sprouts position as the affordable, healthy living grocer,” Mr. Sinclair said.
Herbert Mines Associates Recruits CEO for Sprouts Farmers Market
Following a nationwide search, Herbert Mines Associates recently placed Jack L. Sinclair as the new CEO of Sprouts Farmers Market which is based in Phoenix, AZ. Amin Maredia stepped down last December to pursue other interests. President and COO Jim Nielsen and CFO Brad Lukow had been serving as interim co-CEOs while the search took place.
Sprouts Farmers Market, one of the fastest-growing retailers in the country, has made healthy living accessible to shoppers for nearly two decades by offering affordable, fresh, natural and organic products. The company employs more than 30,000 team members and operates approximately 340 stores in 22 states from coast to coast.
Sprouts also turned to Herbert Mines last year when the company hired Mr. Sinclair as its new CEO. Mr. Sinclair has over 35 years of experience in retail and grocery. He had been CEO of 99 Cents Only Stores, a discount retailer with over 350 locations in the U.S., since 2018. Prior to that, he was its chief merchandising officer for several years.
Established in 1978, Herbert Mines is a specialist search firm focusing on the retail, fashion and apparel, beauty, consumer products and services, hospitality, leisure, restaurant and digital/technology industries. The firm is noted for its C-suite recruiting work.