Next year, a new chief executive officer will be taking the helm at Kroger Co., the nation's biggest supermarket company and one of its largest retail pharmacy operators.

Kroger, David Dillon, chief executive officer, CEO, chairman, Rodney McMullen, chief operating officer, COO, president, retail pharmacy, supermarket, food and drug retailer, Robert Beyer

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Kroger COO named to succeed CEO

September 20th, 2013

CINCINNATI – Next year, a new chief executive officer will be taking the helm at Kroger Co., the nation's biggest supermarket company and one of its largest retail pharmacy operators.

The food and drug retailer said Friday that longtime CEO David Dillon, 62, will retire on Jan. 1, 2014, and be succeeded by W. Rodney McMullen, 53, the current president and chief operating officer.

Plans call for Dillon to continue to serve as Kroger's chairman through the end of 2014. McMullen's successor for the COO post will be named at a later date, the company said.

Kroger operates 1,948 in-store pharmacies under a range of store banners. In its last fiscal year, the company filled more than 162 million prescriptions and saw its pharmacy sales rise by over 9% to $8.02 billion, accounting for 8.3% of its total revenue. Kroger is the fifth-largest pharmacy retailer by sales and the sixth-largest in terms of pharmacy count, according to the Chain Drug Review 2013 Annual Report of Retail Pharmacy.

"As Kroger implements its strategic growth initiatives, the time is right for the transition of leadership. I am delighted that the board has elected Rodney McMullen to succeed me," Dillon said in a statement Friday. "Rodney has played a leadership role in every major decision Kroger has made for the past 25 years, including the development and implementation of Kroger's 'Customer 1st' approach as well as our current growth strategy. He is ready to be CEO. I have been honored to lead this great company for over 10 years and look forward to assisting Rodney and the board in the transition while continuing to serve as chairman."

McMullen joined Kroger in 1978 on a part-time basis on a stock crew and has been president and COO since 2009 and a director since 2003. He previously held a variety of senior management positions, including vice chairman; executive vice president of strategy, planning and finance; and chief financial officer.

"I am honored to have this unique opportunity to serve our company and gratified by the board's confidence in me," McMullen stated. "I am excited to lead our efforts to build on Kroger's market position and competitive advantages to drive value for our shareholders and to strengthen our deep connection with our great associates, our millions of customers and the communities we call home."

A 37-year Kroger veteran, Dillon has served as CEO since 2003 and was elected chairman in 2004. 

"On behalf of the board, I thank Dave Dillon for an extraordinary job as CEO and throughout his distinguished career at Kroger," commented Robert Beyer, Kroger's lead director. "Under his leadership, the company has consistently delivered value for shareholders, customers and associates. The board has planned carefully for this leadership succession. We are confident Kroger will continue its growth momentum during the transition and under Rodney McMullen's leadership. Rodney has the right skills and experience to build on Dave's accomplishments and leverage Kroger's strong platform in the years ahead." 

Overall, Kroger has 2,418 supermarkets and multidepartment stores in 31 states under two dozen banners, including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. The company also operates 783 convenience stores, 326 fine jewelry stores, 1,195 supermarket fuel centers and 37 food processing plants in the United States.