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KROGER ANNOUNCES CEO SUCCESSION
Dillon Succeeds Pichler as CEO; McGeorge Promoted to President and COO,McMullen Promoted to Vice Chairman
CINCINNATI, OH, June 26, 2003 -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) announced that the Board of Directors will implement its CEO successor plan at today’s meeting of the Board.
David B. Dillon, President and Chief Operating Officer, will be elected Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Joseph A. Pichler, 63, who will remain Chairman of the Board. The Board plans to elect Mr. Dillon as Chairman when Mr. Pichler retires.
Mr. Dillon, 52, has been President and a member of the Kroger Board of Directors since 1995, and Chief Operating Officer for seven years. From 1986 to 1995, he was responsible for the supermarket, convenience store, and manufacturing operations of the former Dillon Cos., which merged with Kroger in 1983. He has 27 years of management experience in the supermarket industry.
W. Rodney McMullen, 42, will be elected Vice Chairman and a member of the Board. He will assume additional responsibilities in the areas of management information systems and logistics. Since 2000, Mr. McMullen has been Executive Vice President of Strategy, Planning, and Finance. He joined Kroger in 1982 and has held a number of key financial positions, including Corporate Controller and Chief Financial Officer.
Donnie W. McGeorge, Executive Vice President, will be elected President and Chief Operating Officer, and a member of the Board. Mr. McGeorge, 48, joined Kroger in 1977. He was elected Executive Vice President in 2000 and has been responsible for Kroger’s corporate merchandising programs. Mr. McGeorge previously served in a number of management positions including President of the Kroger divisions in Columbus, Ohio and in Michigan.
Robert E. Zincke, Senior Vice President, will be elected Executive Vice President to succeed Mr. McGeorge. Mr. Zincke, 60, joined Kroger in 1964 and has served in a number of management positions, including President of the Kroger division in Texas.
J. Michael Schlotman, Group Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will be promoted to Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Schlotman, 45, joined Kroger in 1985 and has served in key financial positions, including Corporate Controller.
Mr. Pichler, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since 1990, had told the Board three years ago of his desire to retire before age 65. Mr. Pichler said: “It has been a privilege to serve as Kroger’s Chief Executive Officer for 13 years. I am grateful to the Board of Directors and to my Kroger colleagues, especially the Senior Officers with whom I have served, for their commitment to Kroger customers and shareholders. I am delighted that Dave Dillon will succeed me as Chief Executive Officer. He has led our operating divisions to a record of solid performance during his eight years as President. As CEO, Dave will lead Kroger to a bright future. Rodney McMullen has been a superior leader in Kroger’s strategic development and financial planning. Throughout his executive career, Rodney has generated significant value for shareholders. Don McGeorge is a creative merchandiser and an experienced operating executive. He has effectively guided Kroger in developing our merchandising strategies and in the transition to centralized category management and procurement systems.”
Mr. Pichler added: “These officers led the development of Kroger’s Strategic Growth Plan. Along with their executive colleagues, they represent the best team in the industry.”
John Clendenin, Chairman of the Corporate Governance Committee of the Kroger Board of Directors, said: “The Board has planned carefully for this succession. Dave Dillon, Rodney McMullen, and Don McGeorge are talented and experienced executives who have worked as a leadership team for several years. They possess the strategic, operational, merchandising, and financial experience needed to continue Kroger’s strong record of performance.”
Mr. Clendenin continued: “Joe Pichler has served Kroger exceptionally well for over 20 years. During his tenure, the Company has consistently delivered value to shareholders, customers, employees, and the communities where Kroger operates. On behalf of the Board, I thank Joe for his dedication, leadership, and integrity.”
Mr. Dillon said: “I am honored to be elected Chief Executive Officer of this great company. Having worked with Joe for over two decades, I share his commitment to customer service, integrity and strong results. I look forward to continuing to work with the Board and the senior management team to execute our growth plan, build on Kroger’s competitive advantages, and deliver shareholder value.”
Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kroger is one of the nation’s largest retail grocery chains. At the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2003, the Company operated (either directly or through its subsidiaries) 2,496 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 32 states under two dozen banners including Kroger, Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, King Soopers, Smith’s, Fry’s and Fry’s Marketplace, Dillons, QFC and City Market. Kroger also operated (either directly or through its subsidiaries) 792 convenience stores, 445 fine jewelry stores, 395 supermarket fuel centers and 41 food processing plants. The Company contributed $106 million last year to local communities and non-profit organizations. For more information about Kroger, please visit our web site at www.kroger.com.
Media Contact: Gary Rhodes
Investor Contact: Kathy Kelly
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