10: Kroger pioneer dishes career advice

Homco retiring from Kroger after 42 years

Hays to take over Michigan division

Jayne Homco, a 42-year Kroger veteran currently serving as president of the company’s Michigan division, will retire Sept. 30, the company said late Monday.

Scott Hays, the current VP of operations for Kroger’s Fry’s Division, will succeed Homco.

"In her more than 40 years with Kroger, Jayne has touched the lives of countless customers and associates, and her dedication to the community – especially her work with feeding the hungry, education and women's health – has been an example to us all," Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "We are grateful for Jayne's many contributions over the years and wish her and her family the best in retirement."

Homco began her Kroger career in 1975 as a store clerk in Kroger's Central division in Indianapolis. She spent time in store management roles in the division, before relocating to the company's Dillons division in Kansas in 1998 as a deli/bakery merchandiser. She went on to hold several leadership positions in Dillons and multiple Kroger divisions, before being promoted to VP of merchandising for the QFC division in 2004. She was named to the same position for Kroger's Southwest division in 2007. She was promoted to her current role in the Michigan division in 2013.

Homco earlier this year recounted her career experiences while giving the closing address to students at the Western Michigan University Food Retailing Conference. She advised young workers to seek varied experiences and pursue learning over promotions, as she had in her career. “I didn’t ask for jobs,” she said. “I did the best I could in the job I had and they came and asked me for something else.”

During her four years in Michigan, Homco was passionate about ending food insecurity, helping raise and contribute more than $7.5 million dollars to area food banks and rescuing more than 19.2 million pounds of healthy foods from Kroger stores.

Homco also dedicated her time to Detroit's American Cancer Society and made women's health a top priority, as she led the division to raise more than $1.2 million under her tenure.

Homco and her husband, Daniel, are retiring to Texas where they also have plans to travel, play golf, take culinary classes and more.

Hays joined Kroger in April 2017 in his current role. He came to Kroger from Albertsons Cos., where he began his grocery career in 1983 as a grocery clerk in Provo, Utah. He was promoted to a store director and then held positions of increasing responsibility throughout Albertsons footprint, including district manager, area vice president and division vice president leading the company's San Antonio division. 

Hays played an integral role in the development of the Texas and Louisiana markets for Albertsons. He also served as the VP of operations for Jewel Osco in the Chicago market and most recently was the division president for Albertsons Dallas-Fort Worth market.

"Scott has been a tremendous asset to Kroger since coming on board earlier this year," McMullen said. "His dedicated leadership is best exemplified by his passion for supporting our associates and customers."

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