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Kroger Senior Vice President Robert "Pete" Williams plans to retire next month after 37 years with the nation's largest traditional grocer.
"Throughout his extraordinary career, Pete's leadership has reflected his passion for our associates, customers and local communities," said Mike Ellis, Kroger's president and COO. "Whether developing associates and fostering career paths for many people within the company, or influencing Kroger to improve the customer experience, Pete led with a contagious enthusiasm and steady presence."
Williams has served as SVP since 2007; he leads seven supermarket divisions. His replacement will be named at a later date.
Started as Trainee
Upon graduating from the University of Mississippi in 1977, Williams began his Kroger career as a management trainee in Memphis, Tenn., with the company's Delta division. Beginning in 1978, he held a variety of human resources leadership roles, working his way up to serve as director of labor relations at the company's general office in 1987. He moved back to Atlanta three years later, where he spent the next several years serving as VP of operations and VP of merchandising, before being promoted to president of Kroger's Mid-Atlantic division in 1998.
Cincinnati-based Kroger operates 2,640 supermarkets and multidepartment stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's.