Steven Lauer: Topco CEO Retires

Skokie, Illinois-based Topco Associates announced the retirement of Steven K. Lauer as president and CEO. Lauer, who was promoted from chief financial officer to president/CEO in 1999 — retired after 19 years of service with the company.

Under Lauer’s leadership, Topco’s membership has grown to 51 retail, wholesalers and food service member-owners that collectively represent more than $125 billion in sales, Topco said. In the most-recently completed year, Topco’s member-owners purchased more than $11.3 billion in goods and services through Topco’s 10 programs.

“Topco has grown significantly and developed into a leader in the private label industry because of Steve’s leadership,” said Steve Smith, chairman of Topco and president and CEO of Abingdon, Va.-based K-VA-T Food Stores Inc. “I would like to thank Steve for his many years of service to Topco and Topco’s member-owners.”

Randall J. Skoda, executive vice president of Topco, will serve as the company’s interim president and CEO, Topco said.

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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.