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CINCINNATI -- David Dillon will retire as CEO of The Kroger Co. effective Jan. 1. The 37-year company veteran, who has been CEO since 2003, will continue to serve as chairman of the board through Dec. 31, 2014, the retailer announced today.
President and Chief Operating Officer Rodney McMullen will take over the top spot. McMullen, 53, joined Kroger in 1978 on a part-time basis on a stock crew. He has been president and chief operating officer since 2009 and a director since 2003. He previously held a variety of senior management positions, including vice chairman; executive vice president of strategy, planning and finance; and chief financial officer.
“As Kroger implements its strategic growth initiatives, the time is right for the transition of leadership," said Dillon, 62, expressing his "delight" over the selection of McMullen as his successor.
"Rodney has played a leadership role in every major decision Kroger has made for the past 25 years, including the development and implementation of Kroger’s Customer 1st approach, as well as our current growth strategy. He is ready to be CEO," Dillon continued. "I have been honored to lead this great company for over 10 years and look forward to assisting Rodney and the board in the transition while continuing to serve as chairman.”
Robert D. Beyer, Kroger’s lead director, thanked Dillon for his "extraordinary job" as CEO and throughout his distinguished career at Kroger. "Under his leadership, the company has consistently delivered value for shareholders, customers and associates," Beyer said. "The board has planned carefully for this leadership succession. We are confident Kroger will continue its growth momentum during the transition and under Rodney McMullen’s leadership. Rodney has the right skills and experience to build on Dave’s accomplishments and leverage Kroger’s strong platform in the years ahead.”
Gratified by the board’s confidence, McMullen said he is honored to have this unique opportunity to serve the company. "I am excited to lead our efforts to build on Kroger’s market position and competitive advantages to drive value for our shareholders and to strengthen our deep connection with our great associates, our millions of customers and the communities we call home,” he stated.
McMullen’s successor as chief operating officer will be named at a later date.
Cincinnati-based Kroger operates 784 convenience stores, along with 2,418 supermarkets and multidepartment stores in 31 states under two dozen banner names. Its c-store banners include Kwik Shop, Turkey Hill Minit Markets, Loaf N' Jug and Tom Thumb Food Stores.