- Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos plans to retire from his role on Nov. 1 after roughly 14 years with the retailer, according to a press release issued Tuesday.
- The discounter is tapping Chief Operations Officer Jeffery Owen to succeed Vasos as Dollar General’s chief on the latter’s retirement date and take on a board seat.
- Vasos will stay on as a senior adviser through April 1 next year, when he is set to retire from the company. Dollar General expects Vasos to sign a two-year consulting agreement after retirement.
Vasos joined the company in 2008 — back when Dollar General was under private equity firm KKR’s ownership — as a division president and chief merchandising officer. From there he would take over the COO role in 2013 before becoming CEO in 2015, succeeding Richard Dreiling who now serves as executive chairman of rival Dollar Tree Inc.
Since Vasos became CEO, Dollar General’s sales have increased by more than 80%, and its store count has expanded by roughly 7,000. Vasos also made its first international expansion (into Mexico), launched an entirely new concept store in Popshelf and built out its own private trucking fleet.
Dollar General has also significantly stepped up its presence in the grocery industry under Vasos’ leadership, and has paid particular attention to developing infrastructure and other facilities to improve its ability to offer fresh and frozen foods.
In March 2019 — less than a year after Vasos said the chain was considering bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to “thousands” of stores — Dollar General announced DG Fresh, a multi-year project to self-distribute perishable and frozen foods that has since played a key role in the company’s operations and performance. Dollar General completed the rollout of DG Fresh to all of its stores in 2021.
DG Fresh is also playing a key role in Dollar General’s expansion of fresh produce to more of its stores. Dollar General offered produce in 2,300 stores at the end of the first quarter of 2022 and plans to carry it in 3,000 stores by the end of the year, Vasos said in May during the company’s first-quarter earnings call. Vasos added that the retailer believes it will be able to bring those items to more than 10,000 stores in the future by leveraging DG Fresh.
Vasos has also championed the installation of thousands of cooler doors in its stores to make it easier for shoppers to access items that need to be kept cold. The company added 17,000 cooler doors during the first quarter of 2022 and expects to put in an additional 65,000 by the end of the year, Vasos said.
Dollar General has been concentrating on adding more stores based on its Dollar General Plus and Traditional Plus formats, which tend to be larger than its traditional stores, giving them more space to accommodate coolers for frozen and perishable foods.
Vasos’ successor has seen the company grow even more. Owen started at Dollar General in 1992 as a store manager trainee in Nashville, Tennessee, when the company had just 1,500 stores (compared to 18,356 stores at last count). He served in numerous operations and leadership roles before taking over the COO slot in 2019.
Dollar General Chairman Michael Calbert called Owen a “strategic thinker, strong collaborator and proven leader known for his motivational leadership and deep knowledge of DG” and said the board expects Dollar General’s “strong trajectory” of the Vasos era to continue under Owen.
Dollar General shows no signs of slowing its expansion across the country. The retailer plans to add another 1,110 stores this year. Owen said in early 2021 that the retailer thought there was room for it to build another 13,000 stores (that was roughly 1,000 stores ago).
At Dollar General, Vasos’ planned retirement comes not long after a broad shuffling in the management ranks, with 11 people named to executive positions in May. Those include three new senior vice presidents overseeing the company’s real estate, private label and distribution departments, as well as eight new vice presidents to handle distribution, store operations, merchandising, human resources and information technology.