- Albertsons has named Chris Rupp its executive vice president and chief customer and digital officer, beginning Dec. 3. Previously, Rupp served as general manager of Microsoft’s Xbox Business Engineering team.
- At Albertsons, Rupp will be in charge of integrating and enhancing the customer’s digital experience, improving the company’s e-commerce business and building relationships with customers through its loyalty program.
- Rupp brings more than 30 years of experience in e-commerce, retail and business innovation to Albertsons. Before her tenure at Microsoft, Rupp held various positions at Amazon over a ten year period. She became vice president of Prime in 2014 and helped the company launched its first Prime Day in 2015. She moved over to Microsoft in 2016 and was promoted to her current position with the company in April 2018.
Rupp's technology and e-commerce background promise to be an asset for Albertsons as it leans into digital innovation.
In addition to chain-wide delivery and a growing store pickup footprint, Albertsons is testing new services aimed at boosting customer loyalty. In July, the grocer began testing delivery subscription. It also recently upgraded its e-commerce platform to provide shoppers with real-time updates of their delivery or pickup order.
Albertsons has also partnered with Microsoft to use the tech firm's cloud platform for a variety of initiatives related to the customer experience, including improving its efficiency across its stores, shortening wait times in lines and reducing out-of-stocks.
The grocer will look to Rupp to hone these initiatives and develop new ones as it competes with Walmart, Kroger and her former employer, Amazon, for shopper loyalty.
“She is joining Albertsons Cos. at a time when we are innovating our digital capabilities to make customers’ shopping experiences easy and exciting," Albertsons' CEO Vivek Sankaran said in a statement.
Albertsons has a history of hiring digital talent from outside the grocery industry. Narayan Iyengar, the chain's senior vice president of digital and e-commerce, was hired away from Disney in 2017. Karl Varsanyi, an executive in the chains' product management and user experience department, came over from Macy's around the same time. Other grocers have made outside hires in digital as they navigate the complexities of e-commerce, mobile apps and more.
Rupp's hire follows the appointment of Geoff White to chief merchandising officer in September. In April, the company named Vivek Sankaran, formerly an executive with PepsiCo, as its CEO.