Ken Mueller, senior vice president and chief financial officer of grocer Western Raley’s, died in a plane crash in northern California over the weekend. He was 56 years old.
Muller (left picture) and Richard Conte, 68, Raley’s chief pilot, were killed early Sunday when their small plane crashed near Galt, Calif., part of the Sacramento metro area, according to the Sacramento Bee. Both were identified by the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office.
Chelsea Minor, director of public affairs at Raley’s, confirmed to Supermarket News that Mueller and Conte perished in the crash. Mueller is survived by his wife Brigitte and two children.
“Over the weekend, we were notified by authorities of a plane crash involving two longtime members of Raley’s team, Ken Mueller, Chief Financial Officer, and Richard Conte, Chief Pilot. Our organization is deeply saddened and heartbroken,” Minor said in an emailed statement.
“Right now, our focus is supporting their families, friends and colleagues,” she said. “An investigation is being conducted by regulatory agencies, and we hope to learn more in the days and weeks to come.”
With extensive experience in finance and accounting operations, Mueller joined Raley’s in 1997 as Controller and was later named Chief Financial Officer. In this role, he led the financial services, payroll, real estate and information services departments in implementing strategic financial plans and managing the company’s core systems and technologies.
Also during Mueller’s tenure, Raley’s completed its acquisition of Southwestern grocer The Bashas’ Family of Stores, which nearly doubled the grocery store base and formed a new entity for the two businesses, The Raley’s Cos. The Sacramento Business Journal reported that Mueller played a key role in recapitalizing Raley’s when Michael Teel became majority shareholder in 2015.
Prior to joining Raley’s, Mueller served as controller for Jampro Antennas and held accounting positions at Toms & Rojas CPAs and Ernst & Young.
Overall, The Raley’s Cos. includes 234 stores under the Raley’s, Bel Air, Nob Hill Foods, Raley’s ONE Market, Bashas’, Bashas’ Diné, Food City, AJ’s Fine Foods and Eddie’s Country Store banners in California, Arizona and Nevada. and New Mexico.