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Russ Dispense, president of Kroger’s Denver-based King Soopers division, plans to retire July 1, following 51 years at the company. The retailer will reveal his successor at a later date.
A Colorado native, Dispense began his career in the supermarket industry at King Soopers in 1965 as a courtesy clerk. Over the years, he held various leadership roles in stores and district management, as well as at warehouses, manufacturing plants and administrative offices. Dispense became VP of retail operations and merchandising in 1983, also serving as VP, real estate. He then became president of Kroger’s Smith’s division in 1999, and president of King Soopers in 2001.
"Throughout his distinguished career, Russ has always been known for his passion for the community, King Soopers and for people," said Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO of Cincinnati-based Kroger. "His desire to see those who work with him grow and develop has changed the lives of our associates and touched the lives of our customers. Under Russ's leadership King Soopers has grown significantly while remaining Colorado's favorite grocery store in a highly competitive market. Russ will end his incredible career as our longest-serving King Soopers president. We are grateful for his many years of exceptional service and leadership, and wish him, Debbie and their family all the best in retirement."
Dispense currently serves on the board of directors at Western Association of Food Chains, Children’s Hospital Colorado, and the Colorado Health Foundation. He was the past board chairman at the Better Business Bureau, the Mountain States Employers Council, the Rocky Mountain Food Dealers Association and the State of Colorado Governor’s Advisory Council. He holds a degree in business administration from Western State College and is a graduate of the University of Southern California Food Industry Management Program.
Dispense has been married to his wife, Debbie, for 46 years. They have two grown children and five grandsons.