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Kroger names Donnelly COO

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CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. executive vice president of merchandising Mike Donnelly has assumed responsibility for both operations and merchandising as executive vice president and chief operating officer. The move comes as Fred Morganthall, who has been serving as Kroger’s executive vice president of retail operations, is set to retire, effective November 30.

Donnelly will become one of three vice presidents leading Kroger’s key lines of business and supporting Restock Kroger, the recently unveiled plan meant to redefine the food and grocery customer experience. Helping Donnelley drive execution of the plan will be executive vice president and chief financial officer Mike Schlotman and executive vice president and chief information officer Chris Hjelm.

“Kroger is fortunate to have a leadership team that combines deep experience with creative new talent as we strategically reposition the company through our Restock Kroger Plan,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and chief executive ­officer.

Morganthall is retiring after 31 years of service to the company, and 44 years in the food industry.

Morganthall began his career at Procter & Gamble Co. in 1973. His career in grocery retail began in 1978 at Spartan Stores in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he was responsible for grocery, frozen and dairy purchasing as well as general merchandise and beauty care. In 1986, he joined Harris Teeter as director of grocery ­merchandising.

Morganthall served in a number of executive management positions at Harris Teeter, including vice president of merchandising, vice president of distribution and vice president of operations. He was promoted to president in 1997. Under his leadership, Harris Teeter grew and firmly established its identity as a retailer that provides exceptional customer service and in-store experience. After the 2013 merger of Kroger and Harris Teeter, Morganthall was named Kroger’s senior vice president. He was promoted to his current role in 2015.

Donnelley began his career at Fry’s Food Stores in California in 1978. He advanced to several leadership positions at Fry’s, including district management. He was named vice president of merchandising for Fry’s in 1995 and promoted to president of the Fry’s division in 2000. He has served as Kroger’s senior vice president of drug/GM, president of the company’s Ralphs division, and senior vice president of merchandising before being promoted to his current position in 2015.

“Mike and his team will help us redefine the food and grocery experience for customers and drive sales,” McMullen said. “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.”


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