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    Kroger’s Lynn Marmer to Retire in Early 2016

    Grocer’s first female corporate officer led philanthropy efforts, won PG’s first Trailblazer Award

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ

    Lynn Marmer, group VP for corporate affairs at The Kroger Co., has announced her plans to retire in early 2016 after 18 years with the nation’s largest traditional grocer.

    The company’s first female corporate officer, Marmer joined Cincinnati-based Kroger as a senior attorney in the legal department in 1997 after a decade in private law practice.

    “Lynn has been a trusted counselor and advisor to three CEOs during a period of significant change in food retail. We wish her and her family all the best in retirement,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “Lynn has always appreciated the power of our industry to connect with people’s everyday lives. Her leadership has helped advance Kroger as a leader in community engagement – especially through our partnership with local food banks – and in sustainability, customer relations, and always connecting our external relations efforts to our Customer 1st business strategy.”

    Marmer’s successor will be announced at a later date, the company announced.

    Lynn Marmer: A real trailblazer

    In 2012, Marmer was honored as the first-ever recipient of the Top Women in Grocery Trailblazer Award from Progressive Grocer and the Network of Executive Women (NEW), which pays tribute to a single food industry executive whose leadership, vision and influence have had profound influences on blazing new trails for women in the retail food industry.

    “We couldn’t have chosen a more suitable inaugural Trailblazer recipient than Lynn, who has been a true architect of change in a business where men have traditionally far outnumbered women in all capacities, save clerk,” Meg Major, PG’s chief content editor, said of Marmer, a past PG Top Women in Grocery winner and a staunch supporter of what's since grown to become the retail food industry's premier women's leadership recognition program since its inception a decade ago.

    “Lynn's leadership and tireless efforts to advance women through the ranks at the nation’s leading supermarket chain, coupled with her commitment to advancing worthwhile causes on behalf of The Kroger Co., as well as those close to her heart in her local community, have been nothing short of remarkable,” Major said. “Lynn is in a league of her own, and her influence on the industry will be felt for years to come.”

    Testifying to Marmer’s impact at Kroger – particularly its foremost goal to alleviate food insecurity facing one in six people  – during her Trailblazer Award presentation in 2012, the retailer’s former chairman and CEO, David Dillon, said: “When I look at identifying a single woman across all of America who’s made a difference to our industry, company and communities, Lynn would be my top choice, not only because she’s had a big impact on Kroger, but also on all of the communities that we serve across the country.”

    Singularly crediting Marmer “as the steward of Kroger’s reputation” in countless local communities from coast to coast, Dillon relayed his deep admiration for her tireless work to serve the many and diverse communities the chain serves at the division-level “to roll out our ideas and programs that touch many, many millions of lives," Major recalled. "David spoke for all of us when he said, “We’re all really proud of Lynn.”

    FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin said Marmer has been "stalwart in her many contributions to the retail food industry, including in her commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility. Of particular note is her service to the communities in which Kroger operates and her leadership in making Kroger among Feeding America’s leading corporate partners.  Her work not only helped improve Kroger’s fresh food donations to Feeding America food banks, but also blazed the way in making it easier for other food retailers to do likewise. 

    "As a fellow lawyer, Lynn has adeptly utilized her legal background to communicate clearly and persuasively, especially on important public policy issues affecting the industry," Sarasin continued. "Her many contributions will pay dividends for Kroger for a long time as she departs the company and I certainly wish her all the best in her much-deserved opportunity to move to whatever the future holds for her." 

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ
    • About Jim Dudlicek As editor-in-chief of Progressive Grocer, Jim Dudlicek oversees daily operations of the magazine, spearheads its signature features, produces PG’s monthly Trend Alert newsletter on center store issues, moderates its regular webcast series, and writes and comments about a wide range of grocery issues. A food industry journalist since 2002, Jim came to PG in June 2010 after covering the dairy industry for 7½ years, during which time he served as chief editor of Dairy Field and Dairy Foods magazines. A graduate of Marquette University, Jim is fascinated by how truly progressive grocers inspire consumers to enjoy food, transforming the industry from mere merchants into educators that can take the most basic of all necessities and turn it into something profound and life-enhancing.

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