- Kroger announced on Tuesday that Valerie Jabbar, currently group vice president of center store merchandising, will become the chain’s senior vice president of retail divisions, effective Aug. 7.
- She will take over for Steve McKinney, who is retiring after more than 40 years with the company.
- Jabbar will oversee several Kroger retail divisions and brings a “deep understanding of the business” to the role, according to a statement by Mary Ellen Adcock, the grocer’s senior vice president of operations.
Jabbar brings 34 years of experience at Kroger to her new position. She started as a store clerk at Fry’s in 1987 and advanced through several leadership roles at the banner before transitioning to the role of merchandising vice president in Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division in 2012.
From there, Jabbar swiftly moved through the company’s executive ranks. In 2013, she became vice president of merchandising for Ralphs, and in 2016 became president of that division. Kroger named her group vice president of merchandising in 2018, and a year later she was named to her current position as group vice president of center store merchandising.
"[Jabbar’s] proven success of building highly motivated teams and executing with excellence will foster an energy and commitment to continue delivering a full, fresh and friendly experience for every customer in the divisions she will lead," Adcock said in the announcement.
McKinney’s retirement, meanwhile, closes out a career with Kroger that began in 1981. That’s when he started as a clerk for former banner Florida Choice Supermarkets. McKinney became a store manager, buyer and field representative for the chain before shifting to the Fry’s banner, where he moved through several leadership roles before becoming vice president of operations in 1998.
Like Jabbar, McKinney eventually moved to the Ralphs division, where he served as vice president of operations. He became president of the Fry’s division in 2013 before taking over as senior vice president of retail divisions in 2018.
McKinney’s exit comes on the heels of former chief operating officer Mike Donnelly’s retirement from Kroger, which happened this spring.