Chief executive officer J. Christopher Michael is retiring from Associated Wholesalers Inc. after working there 41 years. Matthew Saunders, veteran wholesale executive, will take Michael’s place, effective immediately, according to a company news release.

Michael will remain as chairman emeritus. Saunders started at the company as executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2012.

The company has also announced that its board of directors has decided to pursue a sale of its White Rose Food subsidiary as a key part of steps it is taking to set a strategic direction that will provide the opportunity to refocus on the company’s core legacy business.

The company’s board has formed a committee to pursue a sale of the White Rose business and Lazard Middle Market was retained as its investment banker to help with the process.