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John Hackett is retiring as president of Kroger's Mid-South Division, capping off a half-century of service with the Cincinnati-based food retailing giant.
Hackett began his career with Kroger in 1963 as a store clerk in London, Ohio, while working his way through college at Ohio State University. After his graduation, he entered the Kroger management training program in 1968, which led to a variety of marketing and operations roles in the Columbus and Indianapolis divisions. In 1984, Hackett was promoted to director of merchandising of the Louisville Division. In 1990, he was promoted to division president, as which he oversaw the merger of the Louisville and Nashville divisions to create the Mid-South Division.
"During his 50-year career, John has consistently demonstrated his passion for and commitment to our associates, our customers and our local communities," said Kroger president and COO Rodney McMullen. "In addition to being a great executive, John is a first-class human being and person. When you define a gentleman, the definition is John Hackett. We thank John and his wife Kay for their many years of dedicated service and wish them the best in retirement. I am sure John will remain involved in serving the Kroger family through his community service, passionately advocating for the causes that matter deeply to John and his family."
Hackett has served as the division's president for 23 of his 50 years at Kroger. During his 29 years in Louisville, the division grew from 55 stores to 161 and sales increased more than tenfold. Under Hackett's watch, the Mid-South Division pioneered self-checkout, opened the company's first Kroger fuel station and the first Little Clinic. He also led an associate safety initiative that reduced accidents by 70 percent and became a model for the entire Kroger company.
Hackett serves on the board of overseers for the University of Louisville and is Board Emeritus for the Dare to Care Food Bank. He served as a trustee for the Louisville Urban League and is a former board member of Bellarmine University, the Louisville Economic Development Association, and the Metropolitan College Steering Committee. He also served as president, chairman and director of the Kentucky Retail Federation.
Kroger's Louisville-based Mid-South Division employs 22,000 associates and operates 161 stores in Kentucky, Tennessee, southern Indiana and southern Illinois.