The Kroger Co. has added a prominent global woman leader to its board of directors.
Former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has joined the grocery chain's board. With Chao's addition, women now make up 45% of Kroger's directors, a huge achievement among S&P 500 companies.
"We are pleased to welcome Elaine to Kroger," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "She's an experienced national and global leader who brings to Kroger's board deep knowledge of corporate governance, strategic and workforce management, and public-private partnerships as well as extensive experience at the highest levels of U.S. government."
Chao's distinguished career has involved leading domestic and international organizations across the public, private and non-profit sectors, including serving as U.S. Secretary of Labor, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, director on numerous Fortune 500 public company boards, president and CEO of the United Way of America, director of the Peace Corps and a banker with Citicorp and Bank of America.
Chao is both the first Asian-Pacific American woman to serve in the president's cabinet in U.S. history (during the Bush and Trump administrations) and the longest-serving U.S. cabinet secretary since World War II.
She obtained her Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School after receiving her undergraduate degree in Economics from Mount Holyoke College. Recognized for her extensive record of accomplishments and public service, she is also the recipient of 37 honorary doctorate degrees.
Chao has been elected to serve until Kroger's annual meeting of shareholders in June 2022, at which time she will stand for election by the shareholders.
"Kroger's proactive board refreshment strategy ensures the organization benefits from the unique expertise and perspective of a diverse board of directors," McMullen added. "Kroger's board is committed to creating value for all of our stakeholders, including our shareholders, customers, associates and communities."
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.