CINCINNATI — Valerie Jabbar has been promoted to senior vice president of retail divisions at Kroger Co. Currently group vice president of center store merchandising, she will succeed Steve McKinney, who has announced his Aug. 7 retirement after more than 40 years with the retailer.

Ms. Jabbar joined the company at Fry's Food Stores as a store clerk in 1987 and held several leadership roles at Fry's before moving to the Mid-Atlantic division in 2012 to serve as vice president of merchandising. In 2013, she was named vice president of merchandising for the Ralphs division and was then promoted to president of that division in July 2016. She was promoted to group vice president of merchandising in 2018 before being named to her current role as group vice president of center store merchandising in 2019. 

"Valerie is a dedicated leader who provides strong results through her passion for people – both associates and customers,"  said Mary Ellen Adcock, Kroger's senior vice president of operations. "Her proven success of building highly motivated teams and executing with excellence will foster an energy and commitment to continue delivering a full, fresh and friendly experience for every customer in the divisions she will lead. Valerie's 34 years of experience with the company bring a deep understanding of the business and will provide yet another valuable perspective among our senior leadership team."  

Mr. McKinney began his career with Kroger in 1981 as a clerk for Florida Choice Supermarkets, a former Kroger banner. While there, he advanced to store manager, buyer and field representative before moving to Fry's, where he held several leadership positions before being named vice president of operations in 1998.  

"Steve is an accomplished leader who has inspired generations of associates to achieve excellence while mentoring many into leadership positions," said Rodney McMullen, chairman and chief executive officer of Kroger. "As a leader who worked in numerous positions and took on new responsibilities, he also committed to the mentoring and development of any associate interested and willing to grow with the company. We thank Steve for his dedication throughout the years and wish him all the best in retirement."