Kroger Makes Several Promotions

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The Kroger Co. on Thursday appointed four EVPs who will, according to the Cincinnati-based company, “lead key lines of business.”

Mike Donnelly has been named EVP of merchandising, Chris Hjelm EVP and CIO; Fred Morganthall EVP of retail operations; and Mike Schlotman EVP and CFO. Each has been assigned additional responsibilities to streamline decision making under this new organizational structure, Kroger says.

“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.”

Additionally, Kroger has announced the retirement of its SVP of retail divisions, Geoff Covert; the company has promoted 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.

Mike Donnelly

Donnelly, 57, formerly SVP, 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.

Chris Hjelm

Hjelm, 54, formerly SVP and CIO, will continue to serve as CIO and lead Kroger technology, research and 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.

Mike Schlotman

Schlotman, 57, formerly SVP 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.

Fred Morganthall

Morganthall, 64, formerly SVP of retail divisions, will lead all supermarket retail operations for Kroger. Under this new structure, Kroger’s three SVPs 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.

Geoff Covert

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 SVP and president of Kroger manufacturing, before being named president of the company’s Cincinnati/Dayton division. In 2010, he was promoted to SVP 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,” said McMullen. “We thank Geoff for his many years of dedicated service to Kroger, and wish him and his family the very best in retirement.”

Sukanya Madlinger

Madlinger, 52, succeeds Covert as SVP of retail divisions. She 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,” said McMullen. “Her experience and commitment to our Customer 1st  strategy will make her a great addition to our senior leadership team.”

Tim Brown

Brown, 55, succeeds Madlinger as president of Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton division. He began his Kroger career at age 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,” said McMullen. “He brings a broad range of experience to our Cincinnati/Dayton division.”

About The Author

A former newspaper editor and publisher who has handled digital duties for The Shelby Report since 2011. She once enjoyed leisurely perusing the grocery store aisles but, since having a baby in 2016, is now an enthusiastic click-and-collect shopper.

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