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Kroger retools senior management for ‘Restock’ strategy

Promotions include new presidents for Fred Meyer, King Soopers

The Kroger Co. has made a series of executive appointments in retail operations, merchandising and supply chain and announced several divisional promotions, including new Fred Meyer and King Soopers presidents.

Kroger said Tuesday that it has promoted Mary Ellen Adcock to senior vice president of retail operations and Joe Grieshaber to senior vice president of merchandising. Grieshaber takes over from Robert Clark, who has been named senior vice president of supply chain, manufacturing and sourcing. All three appointments are effective May 1.

Adcock has served as group vice president of retail operations since 2016. Before that, she had been promoted to vice president of operations for the Columbus (Ohio) division in 2015 after having joined the division the year before as its vice president of merchandising. In 2012, Adcock was named vice president of natural foods merchandising, where she led the launch of Kroger’s Simple Truth brand.

"Mary Ellen quickly established herself as a key contributor to both the sales and operations organization as well as to the senior executive team,” Mike Donnelly, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Kroger, said in a statement. “She led Kroger's efforts to deliver an unprecedented $1 billion in operational savings in 2018 and will no doubt successfully extend her proven track record while overseeing several of Kroger's retail supermarket divisions.”

Joe_Grieshaber_Kroger.pngA 36-year company veteran, Grieshaber (left) has been president of Fred Meyer since 2017. Prior to that, he was president of the Columbus division, having been promoted to that post in 2015 after being tabbed as president of the Dillons division in 2010.

"Joe brings to the senior merchandising role experience in a variety of leadership roles throughout the company, including most recently leading our successful Fred Meyer division with its broader mix-oriented retail format," according to Donnelly.

Clark has been senior vice president of merchandising since March 2016, Kroger said. His 34 years at the company include promotions to vice president of operations for the Columbus division in 2010, vice president of merchandising for Fred Meyer in 2011 and group vice president of nonperishables in 2013,

"Robert will continue to focus on building capacity in Kroger's outstanding manufacturing and distribution networks to support our anything, anytime, anywhere customer ecosystem," Donnelly noted.

Cincinnati-based Kroger said the executive changes are designed to support its long-term growth efforts under Restock Kroger, its strategy to recast the customer experience. The plan includes initiatives to build an omnichannel infrastructure and diversify the company’s business beyond grocery.

"We are making progress on redefining the customer experience, and our high-performing leaders are determined to maintain that momentum in year two of Restock Kroger and beyond," stated Donnelly. "Each of these promotions is consistent with Kroger's track record of strong succession planning and will help ensure we continue driving toward our growth objectives."

krogertwo.pngTaking the reins from Grieshaber as Fred Meyer’s is Dennis Gibson (far left), who has been promoted from his current role as president of King Soopers. And succeeding Gibson as King Soopers president is Dan De La Rosa (left), who has been promoted from president of the Columbus division. Both changes go into effect May 1. Gibson has served as Fred Meyer president since 2016 and De La Rose as King Soopers president since 2017.

In addition, Kroger has promoted Joe Kelley, currently vice president on special assignment, to president of the Houston division, starting on May 1. He succeeds Marlene Stewart, who plans to retire on July 20 after 41 years at the company.

Kelley joined Kroger earlier this year, focusing on the retailer’s efforts to improve the customer experience in his special assignment role. Most recently, he was principal of Kelley Business Advisors, LLC, a business consultancy for grocery retailers, after previously holding executive roles at Ahold USA, Stop & Shop, Marsh Supermarkets and Price Chopper Supermarkets.

Stewart, who began at Kroger in 1977 as a bagger in the Cincinnati/Dayton division, has been Houston division president since 2016. During her decades of service, she was named vice president of merchandising at QFC in 2011 and promoted to president of Dillons in 2015.

"We have a leadership team that combines deep experience with creative new talent," added Tim Massa, senior vice president of human resources and chief people officer at Kroger. "In our dynamic retail environment, we continue to look to experienced and capable leaders to take on key senior officer roles while also developing high-performing leaders and teams, including bringing in outside talent, as part of Restock Kroger."

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