LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix vice president of customer experience Bob Bechtel is retiring from the supermarket retailer after 45 years of service, the company said on Wednesday. His retirement takes effect on March 31.
“Bob has spent his career focusing on customer service,” Publix CEO Kevin Murphy said in a statement. “Through his leadership and efforts, he has helped our associates provide a premier shopping environment that has exceeded our customers’ expectations and helped create raving fans at Publix. We thank Bob for his many years of service to Publix and wish him the best in his retirement.”
Publix is promoting David Finger, currently director of omnichannel, to succeed Bechtel as vice president of customer experience.
“Through every position David has held, he’s kept our customers top of mind, partnering with business areas across the company to find ways to improve our services and streamline our processes,” Murphy said. “I am excited to see how he will continue to find ways to raise the bar on Publix’s service levels and build on creating a premier shopping experience for our customers.”
Bechtel, 60, started his Publix career in 1978 as a front service clerk in Sarasota, Florida. He worked in various positions before being promoted to store manager in 1991, Lakeland Division district manager in 1995, regional director in 2008 and Miami Division vice president in 2016. He was promoted to his current position in 2019. Bechtel received the 2005 President’s Award for perpetuating diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Finger, 47, started his Publix career in 1993 as a front service clerk in Mt. Dora, Florida. He worked in the customer service department before transferring to the corporate office in 2000. He worked in various roles before being promoted in 2015 to director of retail scheduling and forecasting. In 2017, he transferred to his current role.
Publix, the largest employee-owned company in the U.S. with more than 250,000 associates, currently operates 1,365 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky. For 26 consecutive years, the company has been recognized by Fortune as a great place to work. In addition, Publix’s dedication to superior quality and customer service is recognized among the top in the grocery business. For more information, visit the company’s newsroom at corporate.publix.com/newsroom.