Paul Bowen, who joined Kroger upon its 1999 acquisition of Jay C Food Stores and later became president of the division, will retire effective June 21, Kroger said Monday.
Kroger said his successor would be named at a later date.
Bowen began his career with Jay C in 1971 as a produce department manager before taking a military leave of absence to serve in the U.S. Army from 1972 to 1976. He returned to Jay C in 1976 and advanced to hold a number of leadership positions. In 1988, Bowen was promoted to director of training and development for the division. He was instrumental in leading Jay C's merger with Kroger in 1999, spending two years as the transition project leader.
In 2001, Bowen was named VP of operations before being promoted to SVP in 2002 and president in 2003. He oversees 71 Jay C and Ruler stores operating in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee.
Jay C, formerly known as the John C. Groub Co., is based in Seymour, Ind. Kroger has been transitioning select Jay C stores to the hard discount Ruler Foods concept in recent years. Groub at the time of the Kroger acquisition operated one store under the Ruler Foods name.
"For more than four decades, Paul's leadership, vision and passion has helped Jay C and Ruler create customer-first shopping environments that have shaped the way we do business across our business," Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "I salute Paul for his years of service to our associates and customers as both a leader and veteran. The entire Kroger family wishes Paul and his family all the best in retirement."
Bowen and his wife, Margaret, look forward to traveling and spending time with their two grandchildren.