Jim Donald, a former president and CEO of Starbucks, today was appointed president and chief operating officer of Albertsons Companies, effective immediately. He replaces Wayne Denningham, who retired in January.
According to an announcement from Albertsons, Donald will have responsibility for the operations of the retailer’s 2,300-plus store portfolio and help with the acceleration of the company’s growing omnichannel platform.
Following the close of the recently announced merger with Rite Aid, subject to customary regulatory approvals and approval by Rite Aid shareholders, Donald will continue in this role and work alongside the rest of the combined company’s leadership team. Susan Morris, who was named executive vice president and chief operations officer in January 2018, will continue in her role.
“Jim Donald has built an exceptional career in retail,” said Bob Miller, Albertsons Companies chairman and CEO, noting Donald’s experience as a retail operator with extensive knowledge of Albertsons Companies, having previously held senior leadership roles at both Albertson’s, Inc. and Safeway, Inc. Donald also served as a member of the Board of Directors of Rite Aid from 2008 to 2013.
“His knowledge of our company and industry is unmatched, and I know his contributions will be invaluable as we enter the next chapter of Albertsons Companies,” Miller continued. “We look forward to tapping his expertise in leading large consumer brands as we work every day to meet our customers’ needs, both in-store and online.”
Most recently, Donald served as CEO of Extended Stay America, a large U.S.-based hotel chain, from 2012 to 2015. From 2009 to 2011, Donald served as President and Chief Executive Officer of food and pharmacy retailer Haggen, Inc. Prior to that, he spent six years at Starbucks, leading the company through a period of strong growth and performance, working his way up from president of its North America Division to president and CEO of Starbucks Corp.
“Jim is one of the rarest of executives in the retail industry,” offered Jose Tamez, managing partner at Austin-Michael Executive Search based in Golden, Colo. “He’s a transformative individual in the truest sense. He’s a relational leader, and as such is uniquely able to transform morale in a positive way. People at all levels sense the sincerity and it becomes infectious.”
Tamez continued: “And Jim has had multiple retail experiences in which he takes world-class attributes of each and uses them effectively. He’s one of the most impactful leaders the grocery industry has ever seen. But like all leaders of his ilk, will he be allowed to move in a way that utilizes his strengths?”