BOISE, IDAHO — James L. Donald has been promoted to president and chief executive officer of Albertsons Companies. He succeeds Robert Miller, who will remain as chairman of the board.
Mr. Donald’s 47-year retail career began as a trainee in Florida with Publix Supermarkets. He joined Albertsons in 1976, which culminated in his being appointed vice-president of operations in Arizona. In 1991, he was recruited personally by Sam Walton to join Walmart to lead the development of the company’s grocery business and Superstore concept. He left for Safeway in 1994 to be the senior vice-president of the retailer’s 130-store Eastern region, a position he held for two years. His first c.e.o. role was at Pathmark Stores from 1996 through 2002, followed by his most well-known appointment as president and c.e.o. at Starbucks. After Starbucks, he joined Haggen and Extended Stay America, Inc. as c.e.o., and most recently joined Albertsons in March as president and chief operating officer.
“Jim is an exceptional retailer,” Mr. Miller said. “In the seven months since he joined Albertsons Companies, he’s flown tens of thousands of miles and met personally with thousands of employees in hundreds of our stores, distribution centers, manufacturing plants and offices around the country. His expertise in listening to front line employees and customers, facilitating employee engagement and generating sales is unmatched, and there is no better leader for Albertsons Companies at this state in our evolution.”
Mr. Miller’s 57-year retail career began in high school when he held a job in the backroom of a neighborhood supermarket in Southern California. He took on roles of increasing responsibility, culminating in his serving as executive vice-president of operations for Albertsons, Inc. He left Albertsons in 1991 and went on to serve as c.e.o. of Fred Meyer, Inc.; c.o.o. and vice-chairman of Kroger; and c.e.o. of Rite Aid. In 2006, Mr. Miller returned to lead Albertsons L.L.C. as c.e.o. following the divestiture of Albertson’s, Inc.’s assets.