Food-service distributor Sysco Corp. named Aaron Alt its CFO, effective December 7, in a Tuesday announcement.
Alt joins the Houston, Texas-based corporation from retailer Sally Beauty Holdings, where he led finance since 2018. Alt succeeds Joel Grade, who has been with Sysco for 20 years and CFO since 2015.
- "This is our moment to play to win," Sysco CEO Kevin Hourican, who joined the company from CVS Health Corp. in February, told the Wall Street Journal. "We have been investing in transformation during this time."
Alt, who holds both an MBA and a J.D., has spent most of his 20-year career leading finance and operations at large corporations. He began his career in the 1990s as a partner at the London office of law firm Kirkland & Ellis, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions.
From there, he moved to packaged-food company Hillshire Brands, which has since come under the Tyson Foods umbrella. At Hillshire, he served as senior corporate counsel, senior vice president of corporate development, CFO of North American retail and foodservice, among other roles.
Alt then moved to Target, where he worked for nearly six years in leadership roles, including senior vice president of treasury and tax, SVP of grocery transformation, and SVP of operations.
"Sysco has a strong balance sheet, ample liquidity and a compelling strategy to profitably grow the business through its strategic transformation," Alt said. "I look forward to working with the Sysco team to execute on [its] growth objectives."
In 2018, he landed at Sally Beauty, where he worked as CFO and chief administrative officer. Following his departure, Denton, Tex.-based Sally appointed its chief accounting officer and SVP of finance, Marlo Cormier, its CFO, it announced on Tuesday.
As the pandemic keeps consumers cooking and eating at home, the food-service industry has struggled. Sysco, among the country’s largest food-service distributors, sells over $50 billion each year, and said it is using this period of slowed demand to make changes to its business and gain market share.
As CFO, Alt will manage expenses amid fluctuating consumer demand, as well as oversee how Sysco controls food inventory, payroll and cash flow during the winter, when the company expects tightened restrictions, Hourican told the Journal.
"In the longer term, [Alt] will lead efforts to cut costs, win customers and make investments," he said.
To help its restaurant partners through the winter, Sysco last week said it would be waiving order minimums. In its quarterly report on November 3, it reported an added $300 million of new business and $11.8 billion in sales, which is 23% less than the same period in 2019.
Sysco remains on track for its goal of cutting $350 million in costs in 2021, the company said.
Grade will move to a newly created role of executive vice president of business development, where he will be responsible for accelerating both organic and inorganic sales growth through new business development, including strengthening future M&A capabilities, Sysco said.
"[Aaron] brings with him experience overseeing customer-centric businesses, a dynamic and flexible leadership approach as well as a proven ability to drive value creation at large organizations," the release quotes Hourican as saying. "I’m also confident that with his depth of expertise in our industry and his strong financial and operations experience, Joel will be instrumental in accelerating our growth and market leadership position in his new role."