PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway  said Friday that Tom Keller, president of the company's Vons division, would retire effective Feb. 1.
Gary Rocheleau, currently vice president, retail merchandising execution, will lead the Vons division on an interim basis.
Keller has been president of Vons since 1999 and has worked in the food industry for more than 40 years. He started his career at Safeway as a food clerk in the company's Phoenix division. He rose through the retail ranks taking on a range of progressively more senior assignments in a number of geographies including Seattle, Portland and Northern California.
Keller left Safeway in 1991 to be president and chief operating officer of Massachusetts chain Purity Supermarkets prior to its merger with Stop & Shop . He rejoined Safeway in 1998.
"Tom leaves an important imprint on the organization as an energetic and innovative leader," Steve Burd , Safeway chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "We gratefully acknowledge his considerable and varied contributions to the success of our company and wish him the best in the years ahead."
Rocheleau is a longtime Vons executive, and has held a broad range of positions at Safeway at both the retail and the corporate level.