- Kroger announced Tuesday that it has named Laura Gump president of its Houston division. She previously served as vice president of merchandising for the division.
- Gump joined Kroger’s Houston division in 2020. Before that, she spent more than three decades at H-E-B, where she most recently served as vice president of store operations.
- Kroger is turning to an executive with deep experience in Texas to lead its Houston unit amid heightened competition and tense negotiations with union workers.
Gump spent the majority of her more than three decades in retail at Texas stalwart H-E-B, rising through various store-level and district leadership positions. She became the chain’s group vice president of store operations in 2007, according to her LinkedIn profile, and held the position for more than 11 years.
Before joining Kroger’s Houston division in 2020, Gump spent just under two years as vice president of store operations for home improvement retailer Lowe's, according to her profile.
Kroger will look to Gump’s experience in the Lone Star State to navigate fierce competition from Walmart, H-E-B and other chains in the Houston area. Gump takes over leadership of Kroger’s Houston division from Joe Kelley, who was recently tapped to lead the company’s King Soopers division.
Gump, who took over her current position more than a month ago, according to the Houston Business Chronicle, is currently navigating a potential strike among union employees. Last month, more than 97% of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 455 members voted to authorize a strike in response to “cuts and takeaways” from the company. Kroger has pointed to recent wage increases and benefits, with Gump issuing a statement that the company will keep stores running even if a strike happens.
Gump also serves as president of Women’s Edge, a group focused on the promotion and mentorship of women in leadership at Kroger. In addition, she sits on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston.