By Jaewon Kang 

Sysco Corp. hired a new finance chief to help the food-service distributor navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

The Houston-based company Tuesday named Aaron Alt as chief financial officer, effective Dec. 7. Mr. Alt joins Sysco from beauty retailer Sally Beauty Holdings Inc., where he has served as CFO since 2018. He will succeed Joel Grade, who will take on a newly created role of leading business development for Sysco.

"This is our moment to play to win," said Chief Executive Kevin Hourican, who joined Sysco from CVS Health Corp. in February. "We have been investing in transformation during this time."

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many consumers to cook and eat at home, hurting the food-service industry. Dining restrictions have squeezed sales and profits of restaurants, forcing thousands to shut down for good. Sysco, which generates more than $50 billion in annual sales as one of the largest food-service distributors in the U.S., said it is using this time to make changes to its business and gain market share.

Mr. Alt will be tasked with managing expenses as consumer demand continues to fluctuate during the pandemic. He will also oversee how Sysco controls inventory of food, payroll and cash flow during the winter, when the company expects pandemic-related restrictions to tighten. In the longer term, the new finance chief will lead efforts to cut costs, win customers and make investments, Mr. Hourican said.

Sysco recently said it will waive order minimums for restaurant customers to help them through the pandemic. Earlier this month, the company said it added $300 million of new business in the latest quarter, while it generated $11.8 billion of sales, a 23% decline from the same period a year earlier. The company also said it remains on track to cut $350 million of costs in fiscal 2021.

In his new role, Mr. Alt is returning to the food business following a nearly three-year stint in the beauty world. He held various roles at Target Corp. for nearly six years before joining Sally Beauty. Before that, he was an executive at Hillshire Brands Co., a packaged-food company that is now part of Tyson Foods Inc.

Mr. Grade, who has worked at Sysco for more than 20 years, was appointed chief financial officer in 2015. In his new role, he will focus on identifying new sources of growth, including deal opportunities, the company said.

Write to Jaewon Kang at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 17, 2020 08:28 ET (13:28 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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