A Cultural Transformation at Southeastern Grocers
When Anthony Hucker, the CEO of Southeastern Grocers (SEG), took over in that role in July 2017, the company was in dire financial and operational condition and was headed towards bankruptcy. SEG, the fifth largest grocery chain in the U.S. in early 2021, operated under Bi-Lo, Fresco e Mas, Harveys, and Winn-Dixie labels in the Southern U.S. states. Under Hucker's leadership, the company started on a three stage financial and cultural transformation process-"Correcting the Business," "Getting Fit for Purpose," and "Getting Fit for Growth." For Hucker and Chief People Officer Elizabeth Thompson, the path forward to growth and profitability was going to be rooted in a cultural transformation of the company. By January 2021, the company was once again growing and profitable, and employee trust scores had jumped to all-time highs even as the company was navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. The case describes the cultural change process initiated at the company which in three years resulted in the company emerging for bankruptcy, getting awarded Great Place to Work certification, and on the verge of an IPO in early 2021.