Kroger announces retirement, three promotions

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Houston division head Breetz to exit company after 44 years

CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. on Tuesday announced that Houston division president Bill Breetz will retire from the company effective August 24. He will be succeeded by Marlene Stewart, who currently serves as president of the company’s Dillons division.

Colleen Juergensen, currently vice president of merchandising at Kroger’s Smith’s division, will succeed Stewart as president of Dillons. 

Kroger also announced the promotion of Pam Matthews, currently vice president of operation’s for Kroger’s Delta division, to serve as president of the company’s QFC division.

“Kroger has an exceptionally strong team of leaders who are fueling our growth and improving our connection with customers,” Kroger chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said in a statement. “Marlene, Colleen and Pam bring unmatched depth and experience to their new roles. They will help Kroger continue to make a difference for our customers, associates, and communities – and by doing so create value for our shareholders.”

Breetz is retiring after 44 years with Kroger, where he began his career in 1972 as a bagger in Louisville, Ky. After earning a degree at the University of Louisville in 1977, he joined the management training program and was named a co-manager in Cincinnati. He served in several leadership positions through the years, including store and district management and vice president of merchandising for the company’s Cincinnati/Dayton division. In 2000, Breetz was promoted to executive vice president of Kroger’s Southwest division with responsibility for operations in Dallas. In 2001, he assumed responsibility for operations in Houston as well. He was named president of Kroger’s Southwest Division in 2002, and became president of the Houston Division in 2015.

“Bill’s extraordinary career demonstrates a passion for people and a passion for results. He leads by caring deeply about associates and developing future leaders,” McMullen said. “Bill’s leadership has contributed to Kroger’s success and growth. The entire Kroger family thanks Bill for his many contributions over the years and wishes he and his family all the best in retirement.”

Stewart, who succeeds him, started her career with Kroger in 1977 as a bagger in the company’s Cincinnati division, where she worked full-time while attending the University of Cincinnati. She went on to serve in many leadership roles in Cincinnati, including store and district management, training and merchandising. In 2005, Stewart was named director of operations for Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division before being named vice president of operations in 2007. She was named vice president of merchandising in the company’s QFC division in 2011, and was promoted to her current post in 2015.

Juergensen began her Kroger career with the Dillons division in 1981. She served in various leadership roles of increasing responsibility including store manager, zone manager, and director of advertising. In 2008, Ms. Juergensen was promoted to Dillons vice president of operations. She was named vice president of operations of Smith’s in 2012, and to her current role in 2015.

Matthews began her career with Kroger’s Fred Meyer division in 1980, and during her 25-year career with Fred Meyer she held a variety of leadership roles in store management, corporate brand development and merchandising. Matthews also served as director of deli/bakery merchandising and director of floral merchandising and procurement at Kroger’s general offices in Cincinnati before being promoted to vice president of merchandising for the the retailer’s Central division in 2006. She was named vice president of merchandising for the Delta Division in 2014 and to her current role in 2015.


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