Valerie Jabbar has been twice recognized by Progressive Grocer as a Top Woman in Grocery.
The Kroger Co. is elevating one of its star women executives to another big role, this time to SVP of retail divisions.
Valerie Jabbar, currently group VP of center store merchandising, will assume her latest role on Aug. 7. In her new position, she will oversee several retail divisions across the company.
"Valerie is a dedicated leader who provides strong results through her passion for people – both associates and customers. Her proven success of building highly motivated teams and executing with excellence will foster an energy and commitment to continue delivering a full, fresh and friendly experience for every customer in the divisions she will lead," said Mary Ellen Adcock, Kroger's SVP of operations. "Valerie's 34 years of experience with the company bring a deep understanding of the business and will provide yet another valuable perspective among our senior leadership team."
Jabbar joined the company at Fry's as a store clerk in 1987. She held several leadership roles at Fry's before moving to the Mid-Atlantic division in 2012 to be VP of merchandising. In 2013, she was named VP of merchandising for the Ralphs division, and was then promoted to president of that division in July 2016. She became group VP of merchandising in 2018 before being named to her current role as group VP of center store merchandising in 2019.
Jabbar is a board member for the Network of Executive Women. She was twice recognized by Progressive Grocer as a Top Woman in Grocery, first in 2012 as a Rising Star and most recently, in 2021, as a Senior-level Executive. In 2018, she received the California Conference for Equality and Justice Humanitarian Award, and was designated as the USC Marshall School of Business Food Industry Executive Program Executive in Residence.
Jabbar is taking over for Steve McKinney, who is retiring after more than 40 years of distinguished service at Kroger.
McKinney began his career with Kroger in 1981 as a clerk for Florida Choice Supermarkets, a former Kroger banner. While there, he advanced to store manager, buyer and field representative before moving to Fry's Food Stores, where he held several leadership positions before being named VP of operations in 1998.
"Steve is an accomplished leader who has inspired generations of associates to achieve excellence while mentoring many into leadership positions. As a leader who worked in numerous positions and took on new responsibilities, he also committed to the mentoring and development of any associate interested and willing to grow with the company," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "We thank Steve for his dedication throughout the years and wish him all the best in retirement."
McKinney was also VP of operations for the Southwest division and VP of operations for the Ralphs division. He was named president of the Fry's division in 2013 before assuming his current role as SVP of retail divisions in 2018.
Cincinnati-based Kroger employs nearly half a million associates who serve 11 million-plus customers daily through a digital shopping experience and almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. The company is No. 3 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.