May 23, 2011, 10:02 AM

FreshDirect names its founder as CEO

Jason Ackerman had been the online grocery retailer’s interim chief operating officer.

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Online grocer FreshDirect LLC has named founder and chief financial officer Jason Ackerman as the company’s new CEO.

Ackerman, who founded the company in 1999, has been functioning as interim chief operating officer. Before founding FreshDirect, he worked as an investment banker with Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette and Crown Capital Group.

"Jason Ackerman is the right person to lead FreshDirect into its next phase of growth,” says Jim Manzi, the e-retailer’s chairman. “Jason is a proven leader with a combination of financial and operational expertise and a deep understanding of all aspects of the business."

Ackerman replaces Rick Braddock, who resigned as CEO in March after three years in the job. While the retailer did not say why Braddock left, his resignation coincided with a $50 million investment from Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc that netted the United Kingdom-based supermarket chain a 10% equity stake in FreshDirect.

FreshDirect has been planning to expand its online grocery sales to a number of East Coast cities, including Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. The retailer already operates in the New York City metropolitan area.

FreshDirect is No. 75 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide and had Internet Retailer-estimated sales of $268.8 million in 2010, up 12% from $240 million in 2009.

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