Ace names Venhuizen successor to Griffith

Ace Hardware president and CEO Ray Griffith announced his plans to retire from the hardware cooperative on March 31, 2013, and the company’s board of directors has named Ace’s chief operating officer John Venhuizen his successor.

Effective Sept. 1, 2012, Venhuizen assumed the role of president, while retaining his existing chief operating officer duties of Ace Hardware Corp. Griffith will maintain his role as CEO until his retirement.

When Griffith retires in 2013, he will have served as president, CEO or COO for more than eight years, having seen Ace through a period of dramatic change, growth and financial success. Ace’s board of directors and Griffith have developed this succession plan over the past three years, and Venhuizen is their clear choice.  

“Ray’s decision to retire and spend more time with his family has been a deliberate and well thought-out process,” said Ace Hardware chairman of the board David Ziegler. “As part of the company’s succession plan, Ray and the board have worked together on the appropriate timing that is right both for the company and for Ray personally. John has worked side-by-side with Ray for the past 14 years and has unquestionably proven his leadership abilities.”

Since joining the cooperative in 1992, Venhuizen, 42, has served as chief operating officer and as VP business development, retail development, retail training and international. He has led many of the major business units throughout the organization, including supply chain, category management and information technology.

“John has already achieved tremendous success as a leader of this organization,” said Griffith. “He has played a significant role in placing a renewed emphasis on the Ace consumer, always keeping the needs of Ace’s independent retailers in mind.” Additionally, Venhuizen has improved Ace’s store model by identifying the core mix of products that can deliver the most profitable and successful outcome for Ace retailers.”

Griffith joined Ace in 1994 and oversaw several major initiatives as CEO, including the implementation of SAP-enhanced supply chain.

“Ace’s performance has been outstanding under Ray’s leadership and the company is poised for a sound future under John’s leadership -- strategically, financially, operationally and from a management perspective” said Ziegler.