PHOENIX, Nov. 16, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc. (Nasdaq:SFM) today announced that Doug Sanders has informed the Board of Directors of his intention to resign as executive chairman of the board, to focus his efforts on his recent appointment as chief executive officer of a technology company. This change will become effective at the board's next scheduled meeting on February 20, 2017. "Doug has been an integral part of Sprouts since our inception and was instrumental in our evolution from one store in 2002 to one of the largest and fastest growing healthy grocery stores in the country," said Amin Maredia, chief executive officer of Sprouts Farmers Market. "On behalf of all of our team members, I'd like to thank Doug for his leadership and service to Sprouts, and we wish him well in his future endeavors." Effective upon the resignation of Sanders on February 20, 2017, the board has appointed Joseph Fortunato, an independent director, as the non-executive chairman of the board. Fortunato has served as a member of the Sprouts Board of Directors since 2013, and previously served as an executive for 24 years at GNC Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:GNC), a leading global specialty health, wellness and performance retailer, including most recently as chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president. "As we continue to build on our strategic initiatives to enhance our healthy living business, I look forward to working with Joe in his new role as chairman and leveraging the deep high-growth, specialty retail knowledge that Joe has built over his 40-year career," said Maredia. "I am very excited to serve Sprouts in my new capacity as chairman of the board," said Fortunato. "I look forward to continuing to work with the Sprouts board and management team to build upon our trajectory and deliver value to our stockholders."