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Kroger Releases Statement On Nomination Of Director Candidates

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The Cincinnati, Ohio-based Kroger Company says billionaire investor Carl Icahn has submitted an intent to nominate two director candidates – Alexis C. Fox and Margarita Paláu-Hernández – to stand for election to its board of directors at the company’s 2022 Annual Meeting of Shareholders.

The date for the annual meeting has not been announced. Kroger shareholders are not required to take any action at this time.

Icahn wrote a letter to Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen regarding animal welfare and other ESG weaknesses. 

The company issued the following statement:

The board and management team maintain regular communications with shareholders and other stakeholders on a range of matters, including those related to environmental, social and governance matters, and welcome open engagement.

Kroger noted that it heard from Icahn for the first time on March 25, days before he submitted his intent to nominate two director candidates. During this conversation, Icahn voiced his concerns regarding animal welfare and the use of gestation crates in pork production.

While Kroger is not directly involved in raising or the processing of any animals, the company is committed to helping protect the welfare of animals in its supply chain. Kroger has an established responsible sourcing framework to clearly define our policies, requirements and practices, including its animal welfare policy, which articulates our expectation that all suppliers will have transitioned away from gestation crates by 2025.

The board prioritizes ESG matters that affect people, the planet and the food systems on which we depend upon. The board and its committees have direct oversight of key ESG topics, including animal welfare, which is overseen by its public responsibilities committee. The PRC regularly discusses the topic of animal welfare, given the company’s commitment to source gestation crate-free pork and the need to provide affordable, fresh food to our customers.

Kroger’s Animal Welfare strategy and implementation is overseen by an internal committee with representation from our corporate food technology, ethics and compliance, meat, dairy, egg sourcing and ESG teams.

Kroger regularly engages with key animal welfare groups, including the Humane Society of the U.S. In early 2021, Kroger joined the Global Coalition for Animal Welfare, the world’s first industry-led collaboration aimed at advancing animal welfare standards throughout the global food supply chain.

Kroger works closely with its key suppliers to understand animal welfare topics and make progress together toward its commitments. It also engages and solicits feedback from internal and third-party animal welfare subject matter experts, advocacy groups and customers to support our goals.

The corporate governance committee of the board will review the proposed nominees in accordance with its governance policies and practices, and the board will present its formal recommendations in its preliminary proxy statement.

The Kroger Co. is comprised of nearly half a million associates who serve over nine million customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names.

To learn more, click krogerco.com.

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