Kroger, Cincinnati, on Tuesday announced the retirement of Lynn Gust, president of its Fred Meyer division, and said it had appointed Jeff Burt to succeed him, effective Jan. 31.
Gust is retiring after 45 years of service to Kroger. He has been the president of Fred Meyer since 2012. Burt is currently president of Kroger's Central division in Indianapolis.
"Throughout his distinguished career, Lynn has always led by empowering, encouraging and supporting others," Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO, said in a release. "Lynn is widely respected throughout our company and industry for his passion for people, the food business, and the communities we serve. The entire Kroger family wishes Lynn and his family all the best in retirement."
Gust started his career with Kroger in 1970 as a parcel clerk at Fred Meyer's Fourth Plain store in Vancouver, Wash. In 1972, he entered Fred Meyer's food management program and advanced to serve in a variety of leadership roles in the division, including food department manager, training coordinator, grocery buyer and director of grocery sales and merchandising. He also attended the Cornell Food Executive Program in 1994. After serving as group VP for the food group, he was named SVP of the store operations group in 2003. Gust was named EVP of corporate merchandising and advertising in 2006, followed by VP of operations in 2011.
Gust was promoted to president of Fred Meyer in 2012. Under his leadership, Fred Meyer reached $10 billion in annual sales for the first time, Kroger said. Also under his leadership, Fred Meyer was recognized twice as one of Oregon's "Best Places to Work" by the Portland Business Journal, and twice as one of Oregon's "Healthiest Places to Work" by The Oregonian.
Following his retirement, Gust and his wife, Julie, will continue to be active in many community organizations in Portland and beyond, including serving on the Board of Trustees for Randall Children's Hospital.
Burt has served Kroger in a variety of roles since joining the company as a management trainee in 1986. Kroger said his successor in the Central division will be named at a later date.
"Jeff is a strong, dynamic leader who brings out the best in our associates," said McMullen. "His enthusiasm for serving our customers combined with both broad and deep experience in our business — including in the Pacific Northwest — will serve our Fred Meyer team well. We are grateful he agreed to take on this important role."
Burt has held a variety of leadership positions in Cincinnati, Florida, Indianapolis and Seattle, including store manager, produce merchandiser and VP of merchandising and operations. In 2004, he was named corporate VP of deli/bakery merchandising and procurement, before being promoted to group VP of perishables merchandising and procurement in 2010. He has served as president of Kroger's Central division since 2013.
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