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Kroger Promotes Three SVPs, Shifts Division Presidents

Marlene Stewart
Marlene Stewart

The Kroger Co. has promoted several executives to support its Restock Kroger initiative and is relocating some of its division heads, including replacing the retiring Marlene Stewart in Houston, Texas.

“We are making progress on redefining the customer experience, and our high-performing leaders are determined to maintain that momentum in year two of Restock Kroger and beyond,” said Kroger EVP and Chief Operating Officer Mike Donnelly. “Each of these promotions is consistent with Kroger’s track record of strong succession planning and will help ensure we continue driving toward our growth objectives.”

“We have a leadership team that combines deep experience with creative new talent,” said Tim Massa, Kroger’s SVP and HR and chief people officer. “In our dynamic retail environment, we continue to look to experienced and capable leaders to take on key senior officer roles while also developing high performing leaders and teams, including bringing in outside talent, as part of Restock Kroger.”

Adcock promoted to SVP, retail operations

Mary Ellen Adcock
Mary Ellen Adcock

Mary Ellen Adcock has been promoted to SVP, retail operations, effective May 1. Adcock joined Kroger in 1999 at Country Oven Bakery, a manufacturing facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky. She held several manufacturing leadership positions, including HR manager, GM and regional operations manager. She was promoted to VP of deli/bakery manufacturing in 2009. In 2012, Adcock was promoted to VP of natural foods merchandising, where she led the launch of Simple Truth.

She was promoted in 2014 to VP of merchandising for the Columbus Division and became VP of operations for the same division in 2015. While in the Columbus Division, she led her team to achieve a double-digit increase in sales and market share growth. She was promoted to her current role as group VP of retail operations in 2016.

“Mary Ellen quickly established herself as a key contributor to both the sales and operations organization as well as to the senior executive team,” Donnelly said. “She led Kroger’s efforts to deliver an unprecedented $1 billion in operational savings in 2018 and will no doubt successfully extend her proven track record while overseeing several of Kroger’s retail supermarket divisions.”

Adcock graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University and earned a bachelor’s degree in human and organizational development. She earned her MBA from the University of Colorado.

Fred Meyer president promoted to SVP, merchandising

Fred Meyer Division President Joe Grieshaber has been promoted to SVP, merchandising, effective May 1. Grieshaber began his career with Kroger in 1983 as a store management trainee in Nashville, Tennessee. He has served in a variety of leadership roles with Kroger, including meat merchandiser and district manager for the Michigan Division.

Joe Grieshaber
Joe Grieshaber

In 2000, Grieshaber was promoted to VP of merchandising for the Columbus Division before taking on his role as group VP of perishables merchandising and procurement at the general office in Cincinnati in 2003.

He was named president of the Dillons Division in 2010. Grieshaber served as president of the Columbus Division before moving to his current role in 2017. 

“Joe brings to the senior merchandising role experience in a variety of leadership roles throughout the company, including most recently leading our successful Fred Meyer Division with its broader mix-oriented retail format,” Donnelly said.

Grieshaber holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Western Kentucky University.

Clark takes on supply chain, manufacturing and sourcing

Robert Clark
Robert Clark

Robert Clark has been named SVP, supply chain, manufacturing and sourcing, effective May 1.

Clark began his career with the company in 1985 as a courtesy clerk at Fry’s Food Stores in Arizona. Since then, he has held various leadership positions, including store and district management as well as in grocery merchandising. In 2002, he was named VP of merchandising for Fry’s. In 2010, he was promoted to VP of operations for the Columbus Division before taking on the role of VP of merchandising for the Fred Meyer Division in 2011. Clark was promoted to group VP of non-perishables in 2013, and to his current role as SVP of merchandising in March 2016.

“Robert will continue to focus on building capacity in Kroger’s outstanding manufacturing and distribution networks to support our anything, anytime, anywhere customer ecosystem,” said Donnelly.

Several division presidents promoted, Stewart retires

Dennis Gibson
Dennis Gibson

Dennis Gibson, currently president of the King Soopers Division, has been promoted to president of the Fred Meyer Division, effective May 1, to succeed Grieshaber.

Gibson began his career at Fred Meyer in 1984. He spent eight years in a variety of apparel merchandising roles in Oregon, Utah and Idaho. Between 1992-99, Gibson held store and district management positions for the Fred Meyer Division. He was promoted to VP and regional director for the division in 1999, prior to serving as group VP of store operations.

In 2011, Gibson moved to the Columbus Division as VP of operations before being named VP of merchandising. He was promoted to president of the QFC Division in 2014 and named to his current role in 2016.

Gibson began his career in the retail industry in 1976 as a management trainee for Grand Central discount department stores in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Dan De La Rosa, currently president of the Columbus Division, has been promoted to president of the King Soopers Division, effective May 1. He succeeds Gibson.

Dan De La Rosa
Dan De La Rosa

De La Rosa joined the company in 1980 as a clerk assistant in the Ralphs Division. He has a diverse background in operations and merchandising, serving as store director, director of corporate brands for Ralphs and Food 4 Less and district manager. From 2007-13, he held several fresh merchandising roles with increasing responsibility, including VP of meat and seafood merchandising for the enterprise. He was named VP of merchandising at the Fred Meyer Division in 2015 and was promoted to his current role in 2017.

De La Rosa holds a bachelor’s degree from California State University and is a graduate of the University of Southern California Food Industry Management Program. He also served on the board of the Western Association of Food Chains.

Marlene Stewart, currently president of the Houston Division, has announced her plans to retire from the company after 41 years of service, effective July 20.

Stewart started her career with Kroger in 1977 as a bagger in the Cincinnati/Dayton Division. She continued to work full-time while attending the University of Cincinnati, from where she graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in business. Stewart went on to serve in many leadership roles in the division, including in store and district management, merchandising, operations and training.

In 2005, Stewart moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, to serve as director of operations before being named VP of operations for the Mid-Atlantic Division in 2007.

She moved to Seattle and joined the QFC Division in 2011 as VP of merchandising. Stewart was promoted to president of the Dillons Division in 2015 and named to her current role in 2016.

Joe Kelley
Joe Kelley

Joe Kelley, currently VP on special assignment, has been promoted to president of the Houston Division, effective May 1 to succeed Stewart.

Kelley joined Kroger earlier this year on special assignment, focusing on the company’s continued work to improve the customer experience. Kelley is a seasoned retail executive with regional, national and international experience in leading sales, marketing, merchandising, category management, supply chain and operations.

He also held executive leadership roles with Ahold USA, Stop and Shop, Marsh Supermarkets and Price Chopper Supermarkets.

Kelley most recently served as principal of Kelley Business Advisors LLC, where he served as a business consultant for grocery retailers. 

About the author

Terrie

An 11-year employee of The Shelby Report who writes for and about food. In previous lives, she worked at a police department in Texas and an amusement park in Arkansas. She also was a newspaper publisher for more than a decade. Not sure which of those qualified her for this job.

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