Donnelly set to retire as Kroger COO

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CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. executive vice president and chief operating officer Mike Donnelly is retiring later this spring, the company said earlier this month, adding that a succession plan will be announced at a later date. Donnelly has spent more than 42 years with Kroger.

“With his relentless focus on the customer, Mike has led the organization to prioritize what is most important to their experience — full shelves, fresh foods and friendly associates,” Kroger chairman and chief executive officer Rodney McMullen said. “He energizes our teams to deliver results and the best experience for every customer, every time. Importantly, Mike has mentored and developed countless associates, inspiring them to grow and reach their greatest potential — many of whom are in key leadership roles across the organization. His passion for people and developing world-class teams will be one of his lasting legacies. We wish Mike and his family all the best in retirement.”

Donnelly started out with Fry’s Food Stores in California in 1978, and he rose through a succession of positions of increasing responsibility in operations and then merchandising. He was president of the Fry’s division from 2000 to 2002, followed by a stint at Kroger headquarters in Cincinnati as group vice president of drug/general merchandise in 2002 and 2003.

From 2007 to 2011 he was president of Kroger’s Ralphs Grocery Co. unit in Los Angeles. In 2011, he returned to Cincinnati to become senior vice president of merchandising. At that time, he also joined the board of dunnhumby USA, a joint venture between Kroger and the British marketing analytics firm dunnhumby.

Donnelly was promoted to executive vice president in 2015, and to his current role as COO in 2017. As COO, he has responsibility for operations, merchandising, marketing, supply chain, manufacturing and Kroger Health.

“Mike and his team will help us redefine the food and grocery experience for customers and drive sales,” McMullen said at the time of the appointment. “By bringing merchandising and operations together under Mike’s leadership, we will build synergies between our teams and accelerate our efforts to establish a truly seamless customer experience.”

Donnelly’s team has been reshuffled in the wake of the retirement of Joe Grieshaber, senior vice president and chief merchant. Grieshaber has been succeeded by Stuart Aitken, who was senior vice president of alternative business and CEO of 84.51º, Kroger’s data analytics subsidiary (formerly dunnhumby USA). Besides the chief merchant’s role, Aitken was named chief marketing officer, with responsibility for marketing as well as sales, pricing, planning, promotion, execution, analytics, e-commerce, digital merchandising and own brands.



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