- Publix has announced major changes in its C-suite and other management roles, including the promotion of Kevin Murphy to president from his current role as senior vice president of retail operations, according to a company press release. The changes, which are a combination of promotions, retirements and new roles, will be effective beginning next year.
- Murphy will take over the role for Todd Jones, the company's current president and CEO, who will continue as Publix CEO. Laurie Douglas, who is the company’s chief information officer, will now also assume the responsibilities of chief digital officer.
- Publix also announced that Bob Bechtel, current Miami division president, will become vice president of customer experience following the retirement of Dan Myers, the president of retail business development. Jon Goff, the Miami division regional director, will take over Bechtel's former role. Publix also announced that Mike Lester, the current director of warehousing, will take over as vice president of distribution following the retirement of Casey Suarez, who has worked with the company for 40 years.
For some companies, this much executive change might be cause for concern, but in the case of Publix it seems to reflect a long-term plan to promote from within and to evolve with the times. The two executives who will be retiring have spent the better part of their careers with Publix, and those being promoted have been with the company for at least a decade or more. This demonstrates a clear value for internal knowledge and company loyalty.
Kevin Murphy, who will be stepping into the role of president for Publix, has a long history with the company, beginning as a front store service clerk and moving through management and operations roles. His particular area of expertise indicates that Publix will continue developing its strategy around store operations in the coming years, which is key in this era of omnichannel shopping and in-store experience. It's also notable that Publix has moved its Miami division chief into a customer experience role, indicating the importance not just of customer service — which Publix has always excelled at — but of making shopping trips fun and engaging, as well.
Publix recently announced an expansion of its headquarters and plans to add hundreds more to its corporate headcount over the next nine years. Bringing on new talent at the corporate level, but not necessarily to the executive suite, is right in line with the company culture of developing employees for future opportunities. With a large corporate talent pool to draw from, Publix will be able to proactively groom future leaders and adapt to industry changes with its own team, rather than having to bring in outside experts at the executive level as times change.
With its ongoing success as one of America’s favorite grocers, Publix knows what it does best and appears to be planning to stick with a similar strategy for the future – but that doesn’t mean the company is ignoring the importance of other growth efforts. Recently, Publix has also launched a number of initiatives including grocery delivery, introduction of its new GreenWise Market and store remodels and expansions.
One other notable element to Publix' promotions announcement is that the current CMO will be taking on the additional role of Chief Digital Officer. For now, specifics are slim on what that may mean, but odds are that in 2019 we will likely see more innovation on the digital and e-commerce front from Publix.