- Ahold Delhaize USA has appointed Ira Kress as the new president of Giant Food, effective immediately, according to a company press release. Kress has been serving as interim president for the grocery chain since last summer.
- A veteran with the retailer, Kress first joined Giant Food in 1984. He held several operational and management roles before moving into leadership, and has worked across departments including retail, human resources, training and labor relations.
- As interim president, Kress has continued to grow sales and market share, Ahold Delhaize USA president Kevin Holt said in a statement.
Kress’s formal appointment comes after a year of notable developments for Giant Food and signifies Ahold Delhaize’s confidence in his leadership following a tumultuous past few months.
Kress stepped into the interim role last June after his predecessor, Gordon Reid, was tapped to lead Ahold Delhaize’s Stop & Shop banner. Prior to that, Kress had served as Giant Food’s senior vice president of operations.
Pandemic aside, the past year has been a busy one for the banner under Kress’s leadership. In October, the grocer rebranded its e-commerce service to Giant Delivers, replacing the long-held Peapod by Giant name and expanding the service. In January, Giant Food introduced a new line of private label wine at 57 of its Virginia stores.
Kress’s background in labor relations may have come into play this year as well. The grocer reached an agreement with its employees and local UFCW chapters after months of negotiations, according to the Washington Business Journal. The deal included better compensation and protected workers’ health care and retirement benefits.
Since COVID-19 hit, Giant Food has moved its nutrition services online and launched an initiative called #HealthyAtHome as it attempts to support its shoppers’ well-being virtually. Holt also noted in his statement that Kress has built strong engagement among Giant associates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.