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Kroger CEO shares reopening plan at White House

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WASHINGTON — Kroger Co. chief executive officer Rodney McMullen shared his company’s vision for safely reopening the country’s businesses during a recent meeting with President Trump.

McCullen and six other business leaders participated in the “Opening Up America Again” event that was held on Friday in the White House State Dining Room.

Rodney McMullen at the White House

Rodney McMullen at the White House

“As a company that’s operated throughout the pandemic, we’ve learned a lot,” McMullen said. “And one of the things you’ll learn is: Be agile and move quickly, and if you think you should do something, you probably should do it.

“With that, we developed a 59-page blueprint that we made public. The other day, I was on the Today Show, and they asked me like four times, ‘Why would you do that?’  But one of the things that was incredibly helpful for us was the other retailers across the world that were in front of us, from the pandemic standpoint, who were were nice enough to share their learnings with us.  And we thought it was only fair and appropriate for us to share our learnings with others.”

Kroger released the first phase of its blueprint in late April, offering “actionable recommendations” for retailers, restaurants, food service companies, manufacturers, logistics and distribution centers, and other industries to consider in developing plans for safe work environments.

“We’ve had over 100,000 site visits on that,” McMullen said.  “We’ve had over 26,000 individuals and companies download that.  We get a ton of notes from small companies, in terms of their appreciation.”

The other business executives at the gathering were: United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith, Southwest Airlines, chairman president and CEO Gary Kelly, Wyndam Hotels & Resorts president and CEO Geoff Ballotti, Dunkin’ Brands CEO David Hoffman, Gap Inc. CEO Sonia Syngal, and Hasbro chairman and CEO Brian Goldner.

“If you look at all the companies in this room, we have a lot of resources,” McMullen said.  “But if you think about somebody with 50 employees or 100 employees or 200 employees, the resources they have is just not the same.  So sharing that has been something that’s been important. And it’s a real pleasure to represent all the Kroger associates and being able to help America get started again.”


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