H-E-B Promotes Martin Otto to Chief Merchant

According to this press release from Business Wire H-E-B the San Antonio based grocer, with sales of more than $15 billion and more than 300 stores in Texas and Mexico announced that Martin Otto will become Chief Merchant.

In article published by The San Antonio Express News, the Private Brand side of the story is revealed.

In addition, Otto said he’ll work with teams that are responsible for H-E-B’s private-label products and with the company’s manufacturing teams.

“We make a relatively significant amount of the items that we sell here in San Antonio and elsewhere in the state,” he said.

Martin Otto Appointed as Chief Merchant for H-E-B

MartinOttoH-E-B has announced that Martin Otto will step into the role of Chief Merchant on January 1, 2010. Otto has been with H-E-B for 18 years, and is the company’s Chief Financial Officer – a position that he will continue to hold.

Otto assumes the role of Chief Merchant from Steve Harper, who after a long and distinguished career with H-E-B has decided to transition to his next phase of life – semi-retirement. He will continue to work with H-E-B on a part-time basis, mentoring key leaders within the company and contributing his in-depth knowledge to assessing opportunities within its manufacturing and retail operations.

As Chief Financial Officer, Otto has led the company initiative to significantly reduce administrative expenses in this challenging economy, and reinvest those savings into lower prices for customers.

Otto’s background includes serving as Executive Vice President of Grocery and Fresh Merchandising/Procurement in addition to serving as Chief Financial Officer for H-E-B. Previously, he led a number of H-E-B’s operating areas throughout Texas, including serving as general manager for the Central Texas Region which included Austin, Waco, Temple and its surrounding areas.

Otto’s past professional experience also includes real estate investment banking and public accounting. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Harvard Business School.

“Martin is a powerful and well-rounded leader with the proven ability to meet our customers’ ever changing needs. His insight as Chief Merchant will ensure that we continue to be strongly positioned for success, now and in the future,” said H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.