The original plan was for Duncan to take over around March 18 after the closure of a $3.3 billion sale of Albertsons and four more grocery retailers to Acquisition LLC, an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management LP.
The deal struck in January also includes Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s and Star Market stores.
It comes seven years after struggling Supervalu bought Albertsons for $17.7 billion.
Sales, who became chief executive officer in July, will remain executive board chairman until the closure. Robert Miller, chief executive officer at Albertsons, will follow him as a nonexecutive chairman at Supervalu, according to a news release.
Sales agreed to forego $2.7 million in lump sum payments due at his termination, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
“The board decided to install Sam as president and chief executive officer before the completion of our previously announced transaction so he can start refining and where appropriate implement plans for the business,” Sales said in the release. “I fully support this decision and look forward to working with Sam.”
Duncan was chief executive officer at OfficeMax from 2005 to 2011. It’s a title he also held at ShopKo Stores from 2002 to 2005. Earlier he held various positions in Albertsons and The Kroger Co. for about 30 years.
Since January, Duncan has been visiting and speaking with Supervalu’s independent retailers and Save-A-Lot licensees, he said in the release.
“Supervalu has a bright future, and I’m excited to start putting in place plans to improve our results and increase shareholder value,” he said.