CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. said its chief digital officer, Yael Cosset, will assume the role of chief information officer on May 1, ahead of the planned retirement of Christopher Hjelm, who has held the position since 2005.
Hjelm is relinquishing his CIO duties on August 1, but he plans to continue serving as executive vice president, a title he has held since 2015.
“Yael and Chris have worked collaboratively to support Kroger’s technology evolution,” president and chief executive officer Rodney McMullen commented in a statement. “Consistent with Kroger’s history of thoughtful succession planning, Chris and Yael have a deliberate transition plan to ensure continuity while successfully delivering on our Restock Kroger technology initiatives to redefine the grocery customer experience.”
Also this week, Kroger promoted Stuart Aitken to the newly created position of senior vice president of alternative business. He assumes his new post on February 3. Aitken will oversee businesses including Kroger Personal Finance and 84.51°, Kroger’s consumer insights subsidiary. The name is a reference to the longitude of the company’s location in downtown Cincinnati.
“Stuart is a dynamic leader with a proven track record of value creation in businesses that further monetize Kroger’s successful core,” McMullen commented. “Throughout his time at 84.51° and as a member of Kroger’s senior leadership team, Stuart has been instrumental to the successful development and growth of the alternative profit stream portfolio. That portfolio makes the transformation of Kroger’s growth model possible by developing successful asset-light, margin-rich businesses.”
Cosset was serving as chief information officer of 84.51° at the time of his appointment as chief digital officer in late 2016.
“Yael is driving Kroger’s business forward in support of Restock Kroger,” McMullen commented. “He is a passionate advocate for applying technology, innovation and customer science to make a difference in the lives of our customers. Yael has the qualifications, skills and strategic mindset to ensure technology and digital are key accelerators of Kroger’s future success.”
In tandem with his appointment, Cosset is being given the title of senior vice president.
Kroger’s announcement lauded Hjelm for his technology vision and drive for innovation, traits that helped deliver innovative programs and services such as the QueVision and Scan, Bag, Go systems to accelerate the checkout process, and the EDGE digital shelf technology.
“Chris has been a key member of the senior leadership team at Kroger for over a decade, playing a transformational role in making Kroger a respected technology company,” commented McMullen. “We are grateful for his leadership during this important time in our company’s history. We know Chris will enjoy spending more time with his new granddaughter and close-knit family in retirement, while continuing to pursue his ongoing entrepreneurial technology interests.”