HOUSTON — Most big-wigs in the grocery store business aren't well-known to the public, but H-E-B Food and Drug President Scott McClelland is an exception. That's why the news that the popular executive of the Texas-based chain plans to retire soon is getting a lot of attention.
McClelland confirmed that he'll step down at the end of the year.
H-E-B is a $25B retailer that operates nearly 400 stores in Texas and Mexico, according to the Greater Houston Partnership.
But McClelland is best-known as the "H-E-B Guy" because of his starring role in commercials, alongside big-name athletes, including J.J. Watt, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa.
Since the spots started airing, McClelland has become a local celebrity who now gets recognized wherever he goes.
“People see me and start talking like I'm their long-lost friend," he told Ken Hoffman with CultureMap. "The thing I hear most is, 'You're not as fat as you look on TV,' and 'Your glasses make you look like a turtle.' I know I have a face for radio, but come on. People don't hold back saying what they think."
McClelland has fun with it but says he can't cross the line.
"I have a lot of ham in me. I was always the class clown," he said during a break in filming. "My instincts are to be more comedic than I should," he told Hoffman. "I have to remember that, yes, I am the H-E-B guy in commercials, but I'm also the president of H-E-B. I can't be too corny. I do run a business."
"Class clown", maybe but McClelland has pretty impressive business credentials, too. He graduated from USC and Harvard's Advanced Management Program.
He also reached rock-star status thanks to H-E-B's ongoing contributions to the community. The company donated $5 million to Watt's Hurricane Harvey fundraiser, regularly sends out a fleet of Disaster Relief Trucks wherever needed, and is the sponsor of the H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade.
In his capacity, McClelland oversees the operations of all H-E-B banners in Texas. Previously, McClelland served as President of H-E-B's Houston operation.
McClelland joined H-E-B in 1990 and served in marketing and operations before being named President of H-E-B in Houston. He was promoted to president of all H-E-B stores in 2017.
"Under his leadership, H-E-B grew from an 11% to a market-leading 27% share by opening larger stores with a heavy emphasis on low prices, locally sourced products and tailored assortment based on the neighborhoods around each store," according to the Greater Houston Partnership.
"Over his stellar 31-year career with H-E-B, Scott McClelland has been an integral part of our company’s growth and an important voice leading our stores and serving our community,” said Craig Boyan, President of H-E-B.
During the transition period, McClelland will continue to serve on the H-E-B Executive Committee and as an advisor on its expansion into the Dallas-Fort Worth market.
McClelland received his bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California and graduated from Harvard's Advanced Management Program.