Following a life-long career in the grocery industry, Ron Tacker, EVP of operations for Food City’s Knoxville division, has announced plans to retire from the company, effective March 1.
“Ron has been a valuable asset to our company, the grocery industry, his colleagues and the entire Knoxville community,” said Steven C. Smith, president and CEO.
“His service in this critical role has enabled our company to significantly advance and improve our store operations and customer service initiatives. We certainly wish him and Debbie all the best for a well-deserved retirement and more time to spend with family and friends.”
Tacker began his career in the grocery business at an early age, working for a large national grocery chain during high school. At 21, he was promoted to assistant store manager and worked in retail locations in urban, rual and large metropolitan areas, enhancing his grocery and management skills.
Tacker became a store manager at age 25 and was promoted to district manager within five years. He later advanced to a number of senior level positions, including VP of retail operations, VP of retail merchandising and division VP for two large retail chains.
Tacker joined the Food City team in 2017 as EVP of operations for the Knoxville division. Since that time, he has been responsible for the oversight of store operations for 50 Food City locations, its accompanying pharmacy and fuel centers and one wine and spirits store. Throughout his career, Tacker has maintained a passion for identifying and developing talent, sucession planning and promotion from within company ranks.
Katie Penny will assume the role of EVP of operations for Food City’s Knoxville division upon Tacker’s retirement.
“Since joining our company, Katie has excelled in her leadership abilities and shown tremendous growth, having completed our management training program, and served as both a store manager and district manager. She also brings a special focus to our food service operation with seven years of experience in the hospitality industry,” Smith said.
“Having known Katie all of her life, I know first-hand how passionate she is about our company, her fellow teammates, her customers and the communities we serve. I’m confident she will do an outstanding job leading our Knoxville division team.”
Penny joined the Food City team in 2006, working part-time as a fuel pricing assistant while in high school. She returned to the company full-time in 2020, serving as human relations coordinator manager. The first person to serve in the new position, Penny developed the role through her engagement with the company’s team of in-store human relations coordinators. She later completed the company’s manager training program and was promoted to store manager for the Signal Mountain Food City in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
In 2022, Penny advanced to her most recent position as district manager, responsible for the oversite of 13 Food City and Fresh ‘n Low stores in the Chattanooga division. She also served on the company’s in-store design committee, is a founding member of Food City’s “EMPOWER” program and is a member of the company’s senior staff executive leadership team. Prior to joining the company, Penny spent seven years in management in the hospitality industry.
Food City was recently named The Shelby Report of the Southeast’s 2023 Retailer of the Year.
Read more executive news from The Shelby Report.