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Kroger Appoints Executive Vice Presidents

The Kroger Co. has appointed four executive vice presidents to lead key lines of business, including the former chief of acquired banner Harris Teeter, who will lead all of the Cinicnnati-based grocer's retail operations

Fred Morganthall has been named EVP of retail operations; Mike Donnelly has been named EVP of merchandising; Chris Hjelm has been named EVP and CIO; and Mike Schlotman has been named EVP 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."

Depth of leadership

Morganthall, formerly senior VP of retail divisions, will lead all supermarket retail operations for Kroger. Under this new structure, Kroger's three senior vice presidents 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, eventually rising to president. He joined Kroger in 2014 as part of the Kroger-Harris Teeter merger and was promoted to his current position in June.

Donnelly, 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, 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, formerly senior VP and chief financial officer, 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.

Madlinger to succeed Covert

Announcing his retirement is Geoff Covert, senior VP of retail divisions, who will be succeeded by Sukanya Madlinger, currently serving as 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 is retiring after nearly 20 years with the company. Before joining Kroger, he spent 22 years with Procter & Gamble. Covert joined Kroger in 1996 as vice president of the grocery products group. He later served as senior vice president and president of Kroger manufacturing, before being named president of the company's Cincinnati/Dayton division.  In 2010, he was promoted to senior vice president of 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 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 succeeds Madlinger as president of Kroger's Cincinnati/Dayton division. He 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."

Cincinnati-based Kroger employs nearly 400,000 at 2,626 supermarkets and multidepartment stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. 

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