United Natural Foods has announced that Steven H. Townsend has been appointed to the position of president and chief executive officer effective 1 January 2003. Michael S. Funk, currently United Natural Foods' chief executive officer and vice chair of the board, has been elected chair of the board of directors. Thomas B. Simone, who has been a member of the company's board of directors since October 1996 and has served as chair of the board of directors since December 1999, is stepping down from the chair position and will be vice chair of the board.