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09/10/2015

Kroger makes four big senior leadership changes

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Cincinnati — Kroger on Thursday announced the appointment of four executive VPs to lead key lines of business.


Mike Donnelly has been named executive VP merchandising, Chris Hjelm has been named executive VP and chief information officer; Fred Morganthall has been named executive VP retail operations; and Mike Schlotman has been named executive VP and CFO.



“Kroger is fortunate to have an exceptionally strong group of leaders across our company,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. “Our entire senior leadership team brings unmatched depth and experience to achieve our goals. This new organizational structure will help Kroger achieve laser-focus to accelerate growth, improve our connection with customers and deliver value for shareholders.”



Each leader has been assigned additional responsibilities to streamline decision making under this new organizational structure, the company said.



Donnelly, 57, formerly senior VP, will continue to lead the company's merchandising, procurement and marketing teams. He has additional responsibility for digital, manufacturing and corporate brands, supply chain, culinary innovation, The Little Clinic and Vitacost. Donnelly joined the company at Fry’s Food Stores in California in 1978 and was promoted to his current position in 2011.



Hjelm, 54, formerly senior VP and chief information officer, will continue to serve as CIO and lead Kroger Technology, research & development and the company’s customer connect and support centers. In this expanded role, he will take on additional responsibilities for 84.51 degrees, indirect sourcing and corporate travel. Hjelm joined Kroger in 2005.



Schlotman, 57, formerly senior VP and CFO, will continue to serve as CFO. In this expanded role, he will take on additional responsibilities for convenience stores, jewelry stores, data integrity and risk management. Schlotman joined the company in 1985. He was promoted to CFO in 2000.



Morganthall, 64, formerly senior VP retail divisions, will lead all supermarket retail operations for Kroger. Under this new structure, Kroger's three senior VPs responsible for retail divisions will report to him. Morganthall began his career in grocery retail in 1978 with Spartan Stores in Michigan and joined Harris Teeter in 1986. He joined Kroger in 2014 as part of the Kroger-Harris Teeter merger and was promoted to his current position in June.



Also today, Kroger announced the retirement of senior VP retail divisions Geoff Covert, and the promotion of Sukanya Madlinger as his successor. Madlinger currently serves as the president of Kroger's Cincinnati/Dayton division. She will be succeeded by Tim Brown, who currently serves as president of Kroger's Delta division, based in Memphis.



Brown’s successor will be named at a later date.



Covert, 64, is retiring after nearly 20 years with the company. Before joining Kroger, he spent 22 years in a number of management positions with Procter & Gamble. Covert joined Kroger in 1996 as VP of the grocery products group. He later served as senior VP and president of Kroger manufacturing, before being named president of the company’s Cincinnati/Dayton division. In 2010, he was promoted to senior VP retail operations. Covert has served in his current role since 2012.



“We have valued Geoff's insights and contributions to our manufacturing and retail operations teams,” McMullen said. “We thank Geoff for his many years of dedicated service to Kroger, and wish him and his family the very best in retirement.”



Madlinger, 52, joined Kroger in 1986 in the store management training program and has held various leadership positions in operations and merchandising before being named to her current role as president of the Cincinnati/Dayton division in 2010.



“Sukanya is an outstanding executive whose leadership has always reflected her passion for our associates and the customers we serve,” McMullen said. “Her experience and commitment to our customer 1st strategy will make her a great addition to our senior leadership team.”



Brown, 55, began his Kroger career at the age of 17, working as a bagger at a store in Illinois. He joined the company's management training program in 1981. Throughout his 38-year career, Brown has served in leadership positions in merchandising and operations in seven of Kroger's retail divisions and at the company's general office in Cincinnati. He has been president of Kroger's Delta division since 2012.



“Tim is a dynamic leader whose commitment to our associates, customers and communities is an example for others to follow,” McMullen said. “He brings a broad range of experience to our Cincinnati/Dayton division.”