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The Kroger Co. has named Michael L. Ellis president and COO, effective Jan. 1, 2014, completing its leadership succession plan revealed in September.
Also on Jan. 1, as PG previously reported, David B. Dillon, Kroger's chairman and CEO, will retire as CEO and will continue to serve as chairman through Dec. 31, 2014. W. Rodney McMullen, Kroger's president and COO, will take on the CEO position.
Ellis (pictured left) has served in his current role as SVP of Retail Divisions since 2012, where he leads five retail supermarket divisions, as well as Kroger's jewelry and convenience store businesses. He previously served as president of Portland-based Fred Meyer.
"Mike's broad-based experience on both the food and general merchandise sides of our business make him a great fit for this role," Dillon said. "Mike is a team builder who will be a great partner with our entire leadership team. We look forward to his dynamic leadership of Kroger's diverse operations."
As a 38-year Kroger veteran, Ellis joined Fred Meyer in 1975 as a parcel clerk, and went on to serve in a series of operations and merchandising leadership positions in stores, division management and as a corporate officer. He was VP of Fred Meyer’s food group before joining The Kroger Co. as a senior officer in 2004. Ellis returned to lead Fred Meyer as president in 2006.
McMullen praised Ellis as a “key player in our strategic efforts for many years, including the expansion of Fred Meyer's general merchandising expertise throughout the company and, more recently, our accelerated growth plan.”
The company expects its board of directors to elect Ellis at the next board meeting in December.
Cincinnati-based Kroger, the nation's largest traditional grocer and Progressive Grocer's 2013 Retailer of the Year, operates 2,418 supermarkets and multidepartment stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's.