BOISE, Idaho — Albertsons Cos. has hired Jim Donald as president and chief operating officer. Donald, 64, replaces Wayne Denningham, who retired earlier this year. Susan Morris, who in January was named executive vice president and chief operations officer, will continue in that role, Albertsons said earlier this month.
Donald is a retail veteran with extensive knowledge of the company’s operations, having previously held management positions at Albertsons and Safeway Inc. He will be responsible for the operations of 2,300 supermarkets under 19 banners in 35 states and the District of Columbia. He will also contribute to efforts to win regulatory approval of Albertsons Cos.’ proposed buyout of retail drug store chain Rite Aid Corp. Albertsons last month announced it would buy what’s left of Rite Aid after the transfer of 1,932 Rite Aid retail pharmacies to rival Walgreens Boots Alliance. Walgreens had wanted to buy all of Rite Aid, but was forced by antitrust regulators last year to scale back the deal.
A combination of Albertsons and Rite Aid would have around 4,900 locations, 4,350 pharmacy counters, and 320 clinics across 38 states and Washington, D.C., serving more than 40 million customers each week. Most Albertsons pharmacies would be rebranded as Rite Aid, and the company would continue to operate Rite Aid stand-alone pharmacies.
Donald most recently served as chief executive officer of hotel owner and operator Extended Stay America Inc. From 2009 to 2011 he was CEO of supermarket operator Haggen Inc. Previously, Donald was at Starbucks Corp. for six years, of which almost three were as CEO before Howard Schultz returned to the company to turn it around after the recession. Earlier in his career, Donald led Pathmark Stores Inc. and held a variety of senior management positions with Albertsons, Safeway and Walmart.
“Jim Donald has built an exceptional career in retail. His knowledge of our company and industry is unmatched, and I know his contributions will be invaluable as we enter the next chapter of Albertsons,” Bob Miller, Albertsons Cos.’ chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We look forward to tapping his expertise in leading large consumer brands as we work every day to meet our customers’ needs, both in-store and online.”
Said Donald: “Having first worked at Albertsons 42 years ago, I have watched as an insider and from afar how their keen focus on customer service maintained a solid foundation for their team through the years. Their acquisitive nature, combined with their recent innovation efforts and strong own brands portfolio, have helped them to build an even stronger company today.
“I look forward to being a part of the team that takes this great company into the future and continues to serve the food, health and wellness needs of today’s busy customers.”