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After 32 years at The Kroger Co. -- the most recent six of which as president -- Don McGeorge, 55, revealed at the retailer’s annual shareholders meeting Thursday that he will retire on Aug. 1, with vice chairman W. Rodney McMullen set to succeed him.
Both McGeorge and McMullen have been part of the leadership team that has enabled Kroger to retain and enhance its standing as the nation’s top-ranked supermarket retailer. To facilitate a smooth transition, McGeorge will remain until late in the year as a special adviser to David B. Dillon, chairman and CEO, and will remain on the Cincinnati-based company’s board of directors during that time.
McMullen, 48, has been a key financial strategist for nearly two decades for a company that had $76 billion in sales last year.
“Don is a rare executive who combines strong strategic and merchandising skills with a deep respect for his fellow associates,” said Dillon, noting McGeorge’s distinguished three-decade career with Kroger, beginning as a store co-manager in Louisville, Ky. He went on to serve as president of Kroger’s Michigan and Columbus divisions and was later named EVP, responsible for all sales and merchandising, before being elected to his current role in 2003.
Among McGeorge’s key career highlights was spearheading the development of Kroger’s three-tier corporate brands strategy. He also played an integral part in the team that developed the retailer’s central procurement, merchandising and category management platforms to leverage Kroger’s various national operating group synergies and economies of scale.
McMullen, meanwhile, will assume his new duties as president and COO on Aug. 1. Having held his current role as vice chairman since 2003, McMullen has played a key role in developing Kroger’s Customer 1st and Associate 1st strategies.
Having joined Kroger in 1978 as a part-time store clerk, McMullen has since held positions of increasing responsibility, including corporate controller, CFO and EVP of strategy, planning and finance. In his current post, McMullen oversees strategic initiatives, business planning, customer research, finance, corporate technology, real estate, logistics, fuel initiatives and the company’s convenience and jewelry stores.
Kroger operates 2,475 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states.