David B. Dillon, 62, a 37-year Kroger veteran who has been serving as Chief Executive Officer since 2003, will retire as CEO on January 1, 2014, while continuing to serve as Chairman of the Board. Mr. Dillon will serve as Chairman through December 31, 2014.
W. Rodney McMullen, 53, Kroger's President and Chief Operating Officer, will become CEO on January 1, 2014. Mr. McMullen joined Kroger in 1978 on a part-time basis on a stock crew and 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.
Mr. Dillon said, "As Kroger implements its strategic growth initiatives, the time is right for the transition of leadership. I am delighted that the Board has elected Rodney McMullen to succeed me. 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. 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, said, "On behalf of the Board, I thank Dave Dillon for an 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. 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."
Mr. McMullen said, "I am honored to have this unique opportunity to serve our company and gratified by the Board's confidence in me. 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."
Mr. McMullen's successor will be named at a later date.
Kroger, one of the world's largest retailers, employs 343,000 associates who serve customers in 2,418 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. The company also operates 783 convenience stores, 326 fine jewelry stores, 1,195 supermarket fuel centers and 37 food processing plants in the U.S. Recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in America, Kroger supports hunger relief, breast cancer awareness, the military and their families, and more than 30,000 schools and grassroots organizations. Kroger contributes food and funds equal to 200 million meals a year through more than 80 Feeding America food bank partners. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber's Million Dollar Club.