In two leadership promotions that the company said are aimed at supporting its Restock Kroger initiative, The Kroger Co. is promoting Steve McKinney to SVP of retail divisions and, to succeed McKinney as president of the Fry’s division, Monica Garnes, currently corporate VP of produce-floral merchandising.
With the promotions to take effect Feb. 5, Garnes will be the Cincinnati-based grocery giant’s first African-American division leader.
"Steve's nearly 37 years of Kroger experience and deep knowledge of food retail will help our divisions continue to execute with excellence," said Mike Donnelly, Kroger's EVP and COO. "Steve has always been passionate about creating uplifting associate and customer experiences. We look forward to him joining our senior leadership team as we continue to drive Restock 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. In 1988, he joined Fry's in Phoenix and served in various leadership positions, including deli director and executive director of operations. He was named VP of operations for Fry's in 1998.
In 2006, McKinney was named VP of operations for Kroger's Southwest division. In 2007, he became VP of operations for the company's Ralphs division, and then president of Fry's in 2013.
Garnes launched her career with Kroger in 1995 when she joined the management training program in the Columbus division. She has held a variety of leadership roles in her 23-year career with the company, including human resources coordinator, produce buyer, store manager, public affairs manager and district manager, before advancing to produce-floral merchandiser in the division.
Promoted to VP of merchandising for the Fry's division in 2013, she assumed her current role in 2015.
"Monica is a recognized leader in our business and across the industry," Donnelly said. "She combines a willingness to embrace fresh ideas with a keen business savvy that yields real results. As the company's first African-American division president, we are excited to have Monica drive and influence change in our company through her expertise and perspective, and we are eager for her to bring her passion for people and results to Fry's."
A two-time laureate of Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery, Garnes has been recognized as one of the "Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink" by Fortune and Food & Wine magazines.
Based in Tolleson, Ariz., Fry's operates 123 stores and employs more than 22,000 associates.
The Kroger Co. operates 2,793 retail food stores under a variety of local banner names in 35 states and the District of Columbia.