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Kroger promotes Mike Donnelly to COO

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Food/drug giant realigns leadership for Restock Kroger plan

CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. has named Mike Donnelly as executive vice president and chief operating officer.

The supermarket giant said Tuesday that Donnelly, currently executive vice president of merchandising, will start in the new post on Nov. 1. In the role, he will assume responsibility for both operations and merchandising.

Mike Donnelly

Donnelly succeeds Fred Morganthall, who is slated to retire as executive vice president of retail operations on Nov. 30.

Kroger said Donnelly will become one of three vice presidents leading its key lines of business and supporting Restock Kroger, the recently unveiled plan to redefine the company’s focus to food products and the grocery experience.

Helping Donnelley drive execution of the plan will be Mike Schlotman, who serves executive vice president and chief financial officer, and Chris Hjelm, who serves as executive vice president and chief information officer.

“Kroger is fortunate to have a leadership team that combines deep experience with creative new talent as we strategically reposition the company through our Restock Kroger plan,” Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Donnelly began his career at Fry’s Food Stores in California in 1978. He advanced to several leadership positions at Fry’s, including district management. He was named vice president of merchandising for Fry’s in 1995 and promoted to president of the Fry’s division in 2000. He has served as Kroger’s senior vice president of drug/GM, president of the company’s Ralphs division, and senior vice president of merchandising before being promoted to his current position in 2015.

“Mike and his team will help us redefine the food and grocery experience for customers and drive sales,” McMullen stated. “By bringing merchandising and operations together under Mike’s leadership, we will build synergies between our teams and accelerate our efforts to establish a truly seamless customer experience.”

Fred Morganthall

In unveiling the Restock Kroger, McMullen said the plan builds on the retailer’s strengths, and strategically repurposes the company to accelerate its customer-centered efforts in order to create shareholder value.

“We understand that today’s marketplace is shifting rapidly. Kroger’s success has always depended on our ability to proactively address changes by focusing relentlessly on our customers,” he explained. “We have the scale, the data, physical assets and human connection to win. Combining our food expertise and data analytics uniquely positions Kroger to create new and highly relevant customer experiences, delivered both digitally and in stores.”

Morganthall is retiring after 31 years of service to the company, and 44 years in the food industry.

“There are few people in our industry as widely respected as Fred,” McMullen commented. “He worked tirelessly to establish the Harris Teeter brand and, after our merger, to help position Kroger for future success. We’ve all benefited from Fred’s passion for grocery retail and operational excellence. We are grateful for Fred’s distinguished service and many contributions to Kroger and Harris Teeter, and we wish him and his family all the best.”

Morganthall began his career at Procter & Gamble Co. in 1973. His career in grocery retail began in 1978 at Spartan Stores in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he was responsible for grocery, frozen and dairy purchasing as well as general merchandise and beauty care. In 1986, he joined Harris Teeter as director of grocery merchandising and over the years served in various executive management positions, including vice president of merchandising, vice president of distribution and vice president of operations. He was promoted to president in 1997.

After the 2013 merger of Kroger and Harris Teeter, Morganthall was named Kroger’s senior vice president. He was promoted to his current role at Kroger in 2015.


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