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Meijer has named 26-year company veteran Rick Keyes as its new president. Keyes, who joined the company in 1989 as a pharmacist in Columbus, Ohio, takes the reigns of the multi-state Midwestern retailer as its seventh president in the company’s 81-year history and succeeds J.K. Symancyk, who as previously announced, is leaving the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer next week.
“We are pleased to introduce Rick as our new president,” said Hank Meijer, co-chairman and co-CEO. “Rick’s proven leadership has been an inspiration to our team. He has grown up with Meijer, excelling in positions in both pharmacy and store operations, and, most recently, building industry-leading supply chain and manufacturing operations.”
Keyes has served as EVP of supply chain and manufacturing since 2006. In that capacity, he led the 222-store retailer’s expansion into manufacturing with the acquisition of one dairy and construction of another, and pioneered initiatives ranging from the launch of a near-zero emission truck fleet to significant investments in lean distribution technologies.
“I am truly humbled and honored to accept the role as president of Meijer,” Keyes said. “I joined this company as a front-line team member more than 25 years ago, and Meijer has provided me the opportunity to learn, grow and develop experiences across a variety of disciplines. I’m very much looking forward to working with our team members at all levels to ensure Meijer continues to grow and thrive.”
While Keyes’ imprint on the increased sophistication of Meijer's supply chain and manufacturing operations is dramatic, he is also known as a strong advocate for team members, including a passion for increasing employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Since 2012, Keyes has led an initiative at several Meijer distribution facilities to create job opportunities for persons with various levels of disability, partnering with several local non-profit agencies.
“A company can only be great if its team members feel valued and engaged, regardless of their role or level,” said Keyes, who is a graduate of Ohio Northern University’s College of Pharmacy. “Together with a strong senior leadership team, I’m looking forward to charting a course for our company where everyone can feel ownership for our success, while delivering the excellent customer service Meijer is known for.”
Meijer was recently named as Progressive Grocer's 2015 Retailer of the Year, coverage of which appears in the leading food industry trade publication's October issue.