Dollar General has named Chief Operating Officer Jeffery Owen as its next CEO, taking over from Todd Vasos, who plans to retire later this year.
Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based Dollar General said Tuesday that Vasos, who has served as CEO since June 2015, is slated to step down from the post on Nov. 1, at which time Owen will take the chief executive reins.
Under the leadership transition, plans call for Vasos to stay with Dollar General in a senior advisory role through April 1, 2023, when he will retire from the company. The retailer said Vasos also is expected to enter into a two-year consulting agreement and continue to serve as a board member after his retirement. Owen also is expected to be elected to Dollar General’s board of directors upon his promotion to CEO.
“I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to build on Todd’s incredible tenure as CEO. I am equally humbled to lead Dollar General as we continue to serve our customers with value and convenience, support the communities we proudly call home, and provide our employees with career and growth opportunities,” Owen (pictured left) said in a statement. “For the past three decades, I’ve grown and developed within our company, and I couldn’t be prouder to serve as CEO alongside an amazing team in our stores, distribution centers, private fleet and store support center.”
Owen has served as COO at Dollar General since August 2019, when he was promoted to the role after spending over four years as executive vice president of store operations and real estate. Before serving as senior vice president of store operations from 2011 to 2014, he held a range of positions at the deep discount retailer, including as vice president and division manager, retail division manager, senior director of operations process improvement and store manager.
With Dollar General for nearly 30 years, Owen began his career at the retailer in 1992 as a store manager trainee at a Nashville, Tenn., store. Dollar General noted that, during his tenure, the company has grown from 1,500 stores in 23 states into the largest retailer by store count in the United States, with 18,356 stores and 28 distribution centers in 47 states through April 2022.
“Having worked with Jeff for many years, I am confident in his leadership abilities and capability to lead Dollar General into our next chapter of growth and service,” Vasos stated.
Vasos (pictured left) became Dollar General CEO in early June 2015 with the retirement of Rick Dreiling, who also served as chairman. Earlier this year, Dreiling joined rival Dollar Tree as executive chairman.
After joining Dollar General in 2008 as executive vice president, division president and chief merchandising officer, Vasos was promoted to COO in 2013. He came to Dollar General after seven years at Longs Drug Stores (acquired by CVS in October 2008), most recently as executive vice president and COO and as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. Prior to that, he spent seven years at Phar-Mor, most recently as senior vice president and chief merchant, following 11 years in operations at Eckerd Drug Co.
Dollar General said Vasos’ tenure as CEO included the expansion of the retailer’s store base by about 7,000 locations, the addition of nearly 60,000 net new jobs, over 80% growth in annual sales and a more than twofold increase in the company’s market capitalization, to roughly $58 billion.
“Serving my fellow employees, our customers and our communities as CEO has been the greatest privilege of my career,” Vasos commented. “Together, we ushered in an era of unrivaled growth while staying true to our mission of serving others. Today, we are so much more than a dollar store, proudly serving millions of Americans as their neighborhood general store.”
Also under Vasos’s leadership, Dollar General noted, the company delivered on a range of strategic initiatives, including the DG Fresh transition to self-distribution of frozen and refrigerated goods, digital expansions and new retail concept pOpshelf. He also oversaw Dollar General’s efforts to bring fresh produce to more than 2,300 stores, launch of the DG Private Fleet driver program, opening of 16 distribution centers and planned expansion into Mexico, where the retailer aims to open up to 10 stores in fiscal 2022.
“On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Todd for his many years of service to Dollar General, his outstanding leadership, commitment to our values and dedication to the company, its employees, customers, communities and shareholders,” Chairman Michael Calbert said in a statement. “Todd led Dollar General through a period of significant transformation, accelerated growth and innovation. We are a stronger, more resilient and longer-term strategically driven organization than when he took the reins in 2015. DG is a better company today as a result of Todd’s leadership.
“The board is looking forward to continuing this strong trajectory under the leadership of Jeff Owen, who is a strategic thinker, strong collaborator and proven leader known for his motivational leadership and deep knowledge of DG,” Calbert added.
In a research note Tuesday on the CEO succession, Jefferies analyst Corey Tarlowe said Dollar General’s outlook will remain strong under Owen, who has played a pivotal role in much of the retailer’s growth and strategic initiatives in his almost 30 years at the company.
“We believe Mr. Jeffery Owen is the logical successor for the role, given all that he has accomplished while at DG,” Tarlowe wrote. “In our deep-dive report on DG, we highlight some of DG’s winning strategies in which Mr. Vasos and Mr. Owen have both played key roles, such as DG Fresh (self-distribution of perishable goods), Fast Track (rolltainers and self-checkout), NCI (the selling of higher-margin non-consumable items) and digital. We believe these initiatives set the company up for strong (and likely above consensus) top- and bottom-line growth in the years ahead.”