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Tom Keller, president of Safeway’s Vons Division, will retire February 1 after more than 40 years of service in the food industry. Gary Rocheleau, currently VP, retail merchandising execution, will lead Vons on an interim basis.
"Tom leaves an important imprint on the organization as an energetic and innovative leader," said Steve Burd, Safeway chairman, president and CEO. "We gratefully acknowledge his considerable and varied contributions to the success of our company and wish him the best in the years ahead."
Keller has been president of Vons since 1999. He started his career at Safeway as a food clerk in the company's Phoenix Division, rising through the retail ranks taking on a range of progressively more senior assignments in a number of geographies including Seattle, Portland and Northern California. He left Safeway in 1991 to join Purity Supermarkets in Massachusetts, as president and COO prior to the merger with Stop and Shop. He rejoined Safeway in 1998 as VP, retail operations manager in Safeway's Northern California division.
Rocheleau is a well-respected leader within Safeway with deep knowledge of the Southern California market. He is a long-time Vons executive, and has held a broad range of positions at Safeway at both the retail and the corporate level.
Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway operates 1,681 stores in the United States and western Canada and had annual sales of $41.1 billion in 2010.