Ken Koester

Ken Koester


Approachable executive who revitalizes and expands business through “take charge” leadership, sizing up situations and determining course of action to meet challenges head on. Inspired leader with proven ability to unite organizations, cultivating a collaborative and trusting culture to increase productivity and morale. Drive achievement of current profit plan while maintaining strategic vision. Core competencies:

Financial Leadership: Repeatedly increase profits through fiscal responsibility, establishing sound financial practices to reduce debt, control expenses, and restore credibility with Boards of Directors and lenders.

-Generated profits of $15.7 million to $21.1 million throughout 6-year tenure leading a $700 million business, administrating expense budgets of up to $60 million.

-Increased EBITDA $13 million and reduced debt $340 million in 1 year through cost reductions, long-term lease rate increases, and debt restructuring.

Strategic Growth: Documented results in expanding into new markets and penetrating existing territories, building partnerships to access decision makers and employing benefits-driven messaging.

-Grew sales to $1.3 billion through acquisition of $615 million publicly held retail chain and wholesaler.

Supply Chain Innovation: Demonstrated ability to capitalize on procurement and logistic inefficiencies to maximize profits.

-Saved millions in transportation and labor costs through outsourcing relationships and introducing new purchasing policies to reduce acquisition costs.

Continuous Improvement: Verifiable track record of advancing warehousing, distribution, administration, and financial operations to enhance profits and productivity, increase controls, and improve workplace safety.

-Recruited design experts to cut warehouse space 100,000 square feet, achieving $3 million in savings.

Work History

Work History
Nov 2007 - Jun 2009

Sr. Executive Vice President

Affiliated Foods Midwest, Inc.

Contributions Snapshot:Led expansion into new market, driving construction of a 700,000 square foot distribution facility and recruiting independent retailers to grow customer base for $1.2 billion company. Identified and acquired land, negotiated terms, and hired key personnel and consultants to design and build $60 million facility, meeting current needs while allowing flexibility to handle projected volume 10 years out. Developed relationships with retailers and presented benefits of warehouse program to achieve sales growth.

§Completed construction within 10 months, challenging conventional design and operations processes and incorporating best practices to deliver an efficient, safe warehouse environment under budget.

§Saved $3 million in construction costs by hiring consultants to devise design strategies to reduce facility size 100,000 square feet, cutting planned office space 16,000 square feet and challenging change orders.

§Achieved potential savings of more than $5 million by initiating strategic evaluation of logistics network.

§Realized Capex savings of over $2 million, reduced transportation costs 15%, and cut direct burdened hourly rate 25%by introducing outsourcing of transportation and warehouse labor.

§Secured $35 million in new business, penetrating and expanding market by partnering with company connected to independent supermarkets and leveraging relationship to access decision makers.

2002 - 2007

President & CEO

Contributions Snapshot:Maintained profitability and competitive position of $700 million organization, administering $50 million expense budget and managing 9 direct reports and 550 employees.Negotiated 6 collective bargaining agreements across warehousing and transportation, satisfying union requirements while boosting morale and productivity. Replaced company-wide applications with fully integrated Retailx software costing $5.5 million. Grew sales from $605 million to $700 millionby building independent retailer network.

§Attained $15.7 million (2.3% of sales) to $21.1 million (3.13% of sales) in net income throughout tenure.

§Challenged to recover $15 million of defaulted credit, partnering with board over 2-year span to collect on collateral without suffering any losses.

§Executed acquisition of $615 million publicly held retail chain and wholesaler, bringing combined sales to nearly $1.3 billion.

§Generated over $70 million through sale of assets including executing sale and leaseback of warehouse and off-loading of non-performing assets.

§Increased productivity 12% by instituting engineered productivity standards across distribution center.

§Cut $2.6 million in inventory costs through new supply chain process and private-label procurement and inbound logistics programs to take advantage of plant direct pricing and backhaul opportunities.

2000 - 2001

Sr. Vice President / CFO

Mediq, Inc.

Contributions Snapshot:Turned around finances for $250 million organization unable to meet debt service on $600 million, restoring credibility with auditors and lenders through accuracy, transparency, and integrity in financial reporting.Established budgeting department and strengthened internal controls, managing 80 employees across financial, IT, and human resources divisions.

§Improved EBITDA from $47 million to $60 million through cost reductions and increased lease rates.

§Reduced debt to $260 million, collaborating with creditor constituencies and attorneys to restructure debt.

1997 - 2000

Vice President / General Manager

The Caldor Corporation

Contributions Snapshot:Increased productivity, raised morale, and brought accountability to departments through “take-charge” leadership of 250 finance employees, leading $2.5 billion publicly held company through Chapter 11 and recovering more for creditors than expected. Directed sales, internal audit, inventory, imports, A/P, A/R, payroll, real estate and sublease management, and claims negotiation and resolution.

§Trimmed head count 20%, from 250 to 200, streamlining procedures and eliminating duplicate functions.

§Slashed receivables from $11 million to $5 million through revision of collection policies and procedures.

§Recovered $2 million in overcharges through detailed audits of billings compared to lease agreements.

1995 - 1996

Interim CFO

Hills Stores Company, Inc.

Contributions Snapshot:Championed transition of $2 billion organization after resignation of senior executives, maintaining reporting discipline and directing year-end audit and budgeting processes.

§Negotiated $2.5 million in sales leaseback transactions to monetize fixed assets.

§Generated $1.2 million in annual interest savings through identifying errors in check selection program.