Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from a Special Section honoring Kroger as our Southwest Retailer of the Year. See the complete story in the December edition of The Shelby Report of the Southwest.
The Kroger Co. has served Texas grocery shoppers since 1958. In August 2015, Kroger split its Southwest division into two. Now there is one in Dallas and one in Houston. Kroger employs more than 33,000 people in the Lone Star State.
Zurcher is president of the Dallas division
The company promoted Dana Zurcher to serve as president of the new Dallas division in August 2015. Rodney McMullen, Kroger chairman and CEO, describes Zurcher as “an exceptional leader who is known for helping associates discover their full potential.”
Zurcher’s Kroger career began 32 years ago. After college graduation, she joined Kroger as a management trainee in Indianapolis, Indiana. She served in a number of leadership roles in the Central division, including store manager and district coordinator.
“A job that began as entry-level management grew into a career that has provided me various opportunities in leadership roles in merchandising and operations,” Zurcher said.
In 2002, Zurcher was named a district manager in the company’s Fry’s division in Phoenix. In 2008, she was promoted to director of operations for the Ralphs division in Los Angeles, where she served until she was promoted to VP of operations for Kroger’s Mid-South division in 2011. She has served in her current role since 2013. She was VP of operations for the Southwest division before taking the helm in Dallas.
“I continue to be truly inspired and motivated by our associates who work each and every day to not only feed our communities, but impact them in a positive way,” Zurcher said. “I am so proud of how we work together at Kroger to make a difference in the lives of each other and those of our customers.”
Her philosophy is succinct: “I think it’s important to stay true to your values, respect others, be inclusive and stand up for what you believe in,” she said. “Support and appreciate the team around you and remember everyone matters. With that attitude, together we win.”
Stewart is at the helm in Houston
In July 2016, Kroger announced that Marlene Stewart, who had been president of its Kansas-based Dillons division, would serve in that capacity in Houston.
Stewart began her Kroger career in 1977 as a bagger in the Cincinnati division. She worked full-time while attending the University of Cincinnati. She went on to serve in many leadership roles in Cincinnati, including store and district management, training and merchandising.
In 2005, Stewart was named director of operations for Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division before being named VP of operations in 2007. She was named VP of merchandising in the company’s QFC division in 2011. She had been president of the Dillons division since 2015.
Over the course of her career, Stewart has had assignments in Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington and Kansas, as well as Texas.
“I enjoy the fast pace of grocery retail and the continuing evolution of advancing methods and processes to better serve our associates, customers and communities,” Stewart said. “I have a passion for people. I love the great people in our company and the opportunities to coach, develop and mentor. I believe strongly in teamwork and all that can be accomplished when moving forward as one united team.”
One of seven children, Stewart said her parents taught her and her siblings to treat others as you want to be treated.
“They also taught responsibility and taking ownership of your actions and your life,” she said. “In personal or professional life, I believe we must show respect for each other and own our responsibilities and actions.
“We saw great examples of this as Houston faced the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Across the city, and from across the country, we experienced countless examples of treating each other right inside our grocery stores and outside in our communities,” Stewart said. “More silent heroes emerged than anyone could imagine, taking action, and taking responsibility to save lives, lend a hand, and uplift others. The attitude of caring and actions of responsibility should also remain obvious in everyday business.”