CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. has tapped Valerie Jabbar, currently group vice president of center store merchandising, to succeed Steve McKinney as senior vice president of retail divisions.
McKinney is set to retire, effective August 7, after more than 40 years with Kroger. McKinney began his career with with the retailer in 1981, taking a job as a clerk for Florida Choice Supermarkets, a former Kroger banner. He advanced to store manager, buyer and field representative at Florida Choice before moving to Fry’s Food Stores, where he held several leadership positions before being named vice president of operations in 1998.
McKinney also served as vice president of operations for the Southwest division and vice president of operations for the Ralphs division. He was named president of the Fry’s division in 2013 and assumed his current role as senior vice president of retail divisions in 2018.
“Steve is an accomplished leader who has inspired generations of associates to achieve excellence while mentoring many into leadership positions,” Kroger chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said. “As a leader who worked in numerous positions and took on new responsibilities, he also committed to the mentoring and development of any associate interested and willing to grow with the company. We thank Steve for his dedication throughout the years and wish him all the best in retirement.”
Jabbar joined Kroger at Fry’s as a store clerk in 1987. She held several leadership roles at Fry’s before moving to the Mid-Atlantic division in 2012 to serve as vice president of merchandising. In 2013, she was named vice president of merchandising for the Ralphs division and was then promoted to president of that division in July 2016. She was promoted to group vice president of merchandising in 2018 before being named to her current role as group vice president of center store merchandising in 2019.
In her new role, Jabbar will oversee several retail divisions across the company.
“Valerie is a dedicated leader who provides strong results through her passion for people – both associates and customers,” Kroger senior vice president of operations Mary Ellen Adcock says. “Her proven success of building highly motivated teams and executing with excellence will foster an energy and commitment to continue delivering a full, fresh and friendly experience for every customer in the divisions she will lead. Valerie’s 34 years of experience with the company bring a deep understanding of the business and will provide yet another valuable perspective among our senior leadership team.
Jabbar is a board member for the Network of Executive Women. She received the California Conference for Equality and Justice Humanitarian Award, and was designated as the executive in residence at the USC Marshall School of Business Food Industry Executive Program.