CINCINNATI — Mike Donnelly has been named executive vice-president and chief operating officer of the Kroger Co. Currently the company’s executive vice-president of merchandising, Mr. Donnelly will assume responsibility for both operations and merchandising upon the retirement of Fred Morganthall, executive vice-president of retail operations.
Mr. Donnelly, along with Mike Schlotman, executive vice-president and chief financial officer, and Chris Hjelm, executive vice-president and chief information officer, will drive the execution of Restock Kroger, the company’s recently announced plan to deliver value for customers and shareholders.
Mr. Donnelly began his career in 1978 at Fry’s Food Stores, where he served in a number of leadership positions, including vice-president of merchandising and president. He also has served as Kroger’s senior vice-president of drug/GM, president of the Ralphs division and senior vice-president of merchandising. He assumed his current role in 2015.
“Mike and his team will help us redefine the food and grocery experience for customers and drive sales,” said Rodney McMullen, chairman and chief executive officer of Kroger. “By bringing merchandising and operations together under Mike’s leadership, we will build synergies between our teams and accelerate our efforts to establish a truly seamless customer experience.”
Mr. Morganthall is set to retire after 31 years with Kroger and 44 years in the food industry. He began his career at Procter & Gamble in 1973. In 1986 he joined Harris Teeter as director of grocery merchandising. He held various executive management positions with Harris Teeter, including vice-president of merchandising, vice-president of distribution and vice-president of operations. He was named president in 1997. Following the merger of Kroger and Harris Teeter in 2013, Mr. Morganthall was named senior vice-president at Kroger in June 2015 and executive vice-president of retail operations in September 2015.“There are few people in our industry as widely respected as Fred,” Mr. McMullen said. “He worked tirelessly to establish the Harris Teeter brand and, after our merger, to help position Kroger for future success. We’ve all benefited from Fred’s passion for grocery retail and operational excellence. We are grateful for Fred’s distinguished service and many contributions to Kroger and Harris Teeter, and we wish him and his family all the best.”