With 34 years at Associated Wholesale Grocers behind him, Mike Rand has retirement ahead of him.

COO bids farewell to AWGThe chief operating officer of the Kansas City, Kan.-based grocery cooperative plans to step down at the end of this year, according to a news release. Spokeswoman Rhonda Loftus said “no formal announcement has been made of a successor.”

However, effective Sept. 7 David Smith, senior vice president and Gulf Coast division manager, was placed on special assignment reporting to Rand, according to the release. Bob Durand, previously vice president of merchandising for the Gulf Coast division, succeeds Smith as senior vice president and Gulf Coast division manager.

As with Smith, Durand will report directly to Rand, who has seen the company’s sales steadily increase during his tenure. Rand said in the release that he believes that growth will continue after he retires.

“Seeing the company grow from two divisions and $1 billion in sales in 1980 to seven divisions, nine (distribution centers) and almost $9 billion in sales, makes me very proud of the continuous growth pattern AWG has achieved,” Rand said in the release. “There have been many success stories over the years and they will continue to be written as AWG moves forward.”

Since joining Associated Wholesale Grocers in 1980, Rand has had several posts, including division managers in Oklahoma City and Kansas City, as well as vice president of distribution.

From its inception in 1924, Associated Wholesale Grocers has grown from 20 independent grocer members to more than 600 member-owners. The distribution company serves more than 3,000 retail outlets across 31 states.