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Kroger appoints new president, COO
October 17th, 2013
CINCINNATI – Completing a succession plan unveiled last month, Kroger Co. has named Michael Ellis as president and chief operating officer.
The food and drug retailer said Thursday that Ellis, currently senior vice president of Kroger's retail divisions, will assume the new role on Jan. 1, 2014, after its board elects him to the position at its meeting in December.
In September, Kroger announced that chairman and CEO David Dillon, 62, plans to retire as CEO on Jan. 1 and continue to serve as chairman until Dec. 31, 2014. Current Kroger president and COO W. Rodney McMullen, 53, is slated to become CEO on Jan. 1.
The 55-year-old Ellis has served as senior vice president of retail divisions since 2012. In that role, he leads five retail supermarket divisions as well as Kroger's jewelry and convenience store businesses. He previously served as president of Portland, Ore.-based Fred Meyer, Kroger's largest operating division by revenue, for six years.
"Mike's broad-based experience on both the food and general merchandise sides of our business make him a great fit for this role," Dillon said in a statement. "Mike is a team builder who will be a great partner with our entire leadership team. We look forward to his dynamic leadership of Kroger's diverse operations."
A 38-year Kroger veteran, Ellis joined Fred Meyer in 1975 as a parcel clerk at age 16 and went on to serve in a series of operations and merchandising leadership positions in stores, division management and as a corporate officer. He was vice president of Fred Meyer's food group before joining The Kroger Co. as a senior officer in 2004. He returned to lead Fred Meyer as President in 2006. Kroger noted that Ellis played a key role in the growth of its Marketplace store format, which offers a wide assortment of general merchandise including home goods, toys and apparel plus full-service grocery and pharmacy departments.
"Mike has been a key player in our strategic efforts for many years, including the expansion of Fred Meyer's general merchandising expertise throughout the company and, more recently, our accelerated growth plan," McMullen stated. "His extensive knowledge spans our multiple formats and unique approaches to merchandising. Mike's insistence on operational excellence and his willingness to push boundaries to improve the customer experience will ensure Kroger continues to grow."
Kroger operates 1,948 pharmacies in its 2,418 supermarkets and multidepartment stores, located across 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.