President - Jim Lee
Jim joined Stater Bros. Markets as the Group Senior Vice President of Retail Operations in 2002, bringing to the Company over 30 years of experience in the Supermarket Industry. In January of 2006, he was promoted to Executive Vice President of Retail Operations and Administration. On September 25, 2006, Jim was promoted to his current position of President and Chief Operating Officer and assumed overall responsibility for the Company’s day-to-day operations. Headquartered in San Bernardino, California, and founded in 1936, Stater Bros. is a “Fortune 500” Company, and is the largest privately owned Supermarket Chain based in Southern California with 167 stores, nearly $4 billion in annual sales, and over 18,000 members of the Stater Bros. “Family” of Employees.
Mr. Lee began his grocery career with Ralphs Grocery Company in Southern California in 1972 as a Clerk’s Helper. Later he was promoted to various positions during his 25 years at the Company including: Store Manager, District Manager, Vice President of Store Operations Administration and Vice President Store Operations, Northern Division and Southern Divisions. His last position with Ralphs was Group Vice President of the Central Division, where he had responsibility for the highest sales volume Division in the Company.
Prior to joining Stater Bros., Jim was the President and Chief Operating Officer, from 1996 to 2001, of Wild Oats Markets, Inc. based in Boulder, Colorado; which at the time, was the second largest chain of natural foods supermarkets in North America, with annual sales of over $1 billion. During Jim’s time with Wild Oats, he helped the company “go public” and oversaw a 600% increase in sales.
Mr. Lee has a Bachelor of Arts Degree (in History) from Azusa Pacific University where he played basketball on Scholarship, a Food Industry Management Certificate (full Scholarship from the Western Association of Food Chains) and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Southern California, which he earned while attending night school. Jim also graduated, and served as Class President, from the Executive Program in the Graduate School of Business at UCLA. In 2008, Jim was honored by Azusa Pacific University with the Academic Hall of Honor Award. The USC Marshall School of Business, Food Industry Management (FIM) Program named Jim the Food Industry Executive of the Year for 2010. Also, Jim received the 2011 Humanitarian Award from The California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ) for his longtime dedication and service to the Food Industry and most recently the 2013 CGA Educational Foundation Hall of Achievement Award.
Mr. Lee is on the Executive Committee of the Western Association of Food Chains and served as President in 2007/2008. He is on the Advisory Board for the City of Hope Food Industries Circle, a past board member of the Food Marketing Institute, former trustee for the California Grocers Association Educational Foundation, and is a Vice President on the Board of Directors for Topco Associates, LLC.
Jim and his wife Nancy (also a supermarket “veteran”) are both native Southern Californians and reside in Newport Beach, California. They have been married for 39 years, and have two daughters and four grandchildren.