October 3, 2005, John Runyan joined Associated Grocers, Seattle, WA as President and CEO. January 2006 he was elected Vice Chairman of the Board. AG had 2005 sales over $1 billion from distribution centers totaling one million square feet serving 325 stores. After his arrival, 5 of 8 Officers and some mid level executives were replaced. After the first 90 days a “Go Forward” plan was developed that reduced expenses $9.6 Million annualized. Under John’s leadership multiple strategies were implemented and in less than two years AG was turned around. Two separate transactions were the 55 acres of land that includes a 4 year leaseback, was sold April 2007 for $91 million, after it had appraised twice before at 30% less. AG company sale came with the signing of a Letter of Understanding with Unified Western Grocers May 4, 2007 for $65 Million and assumption of certain liabilities. The sale was finalized with change of ownership September 30, 2007 and John became Executive Advisor to the President and CEO of Unified Grocers. In June 2010 the CEO promoted a EVP to President and asked John to also be the Executive Advisor to the new President.
Prior to AG John was and still is a owner in JSR&R Company with primary emphasis in the United States and International Food Business. Some of the clients are/were Bozzuto; Brookshire Grocery Co.; Coca Cola; Golden State Foods; Food 4 Less Price Impact Stores; Fleming; IGA, Inc.; 3 separate Foodstuffs Pak’n Save Companies-New Zealand; Foster’s Food Fair Supermarkets-Grand Cayman; Matahari Supermarkets-Indonesia; Metcash Trading Ltd.-Australia; Robinson Supermarkets & Big R Price Impact Stores-Philippines.
John serves on the Board of Directors of: Western Association of Food Chains; Retailer Owned Food Distributors of America; BioLargo, Inc. Santa Ana, CA; and serves as Executive Advisor to the President/CEO, PAQ, Inc. Stockton, CA. He also served as Senior Advisor to the Chairman/CEO, IGA, Inc., the world’s largest voluntary supermarket network, annual sales $21 billion, and as Chairman of S4R Company, Carlsbad, CA. provider of Network Security & Managed Services thru sale of company to OpSource, Inc. 2003.
His introduction into the supermarket business started at age 12 with a independent grocer as a stocker then with a multi-store IGA retailer working in the grocery and meat departments, then overall store management. Staying in the supermarket industry, John worked his way through college, and after graduation was hired by Fleming and worked in five different operating divisions in merchandising, procurement, Sales Manager, then President of the Fremont and Oakland CA. Divisions.This was followed by Corporate Senior Vice President Operations responsible for 8 Division Presidents of (7) full-line and (1) GM/HBC divisions in the Western Unified States and for Export/International business.
In his last 10 years with the $16 Billion Fleming Companies John was a Senior Executive Officer located at the Corporate Headquarter where he was Group President of Price Impact Retail Stores with annual sales over $3 billion.Before that he was the Corporate Senior Vice President responsible for Mega Market Retail Corporate Stores; Piggly Wiggly Retail Corporate Stores; Sav-U-Foods Limited Assortment Retail Stores; Retail Training and Support; Consumer Research; Franchising; Corporate IGA Administrator; and Corporate liaison with the 36 division sales managers. After 38 years with the company he retired December 31, 2000.
John’s business and community activities are extensive.He served 8 years as a Board of Director member and 2 terms as President of the City of Hope in Northern, CA, and received the “Spirit of Life” award, the highest recognition presented by the National Board for the City of Hope.
John was the first wholesale executive to be voted “Man of the Year” by Food People Publication. He is a graduate of Washburn University that recognized his business accomplishments as the honoree from the School of Business with the 2007 “Alumni Fellow Award”. John also is a veteran as he served in the US Army stationed in Korea and was honorable discharged as a Staff Sergeant.
John and Linda have a home in San Juan Capistrano, CA. They have three daughters, two live in Kansas City and one in Southern California. They also have 3 granddaughters.