Rodney McMullen, chief executive officer of Kroger, has been named as chairman, too.

CINCINNATI — The board of the directors at The Kroger Co. has elected W. Rodney McMullen, chief executive officer, to the additional position of chairman, effective Jan. 1, 2015. He will succeed David B. Dillon, who will retire as chairman on Dec. 31 after 38 years of service.

Mr. McMullen has been on the board of directors since 2003. He was president and chief operating officer from 2009-13. He previously held a variety of senior management positions, including vice-chairman; executive vice-president of strategy, planning, and finance; and chief financial officer.

Mr. Dillon was Kroger’s chairman from 2004-14 and c.e.o. from 2003-13. Prior to that, he held a variety of executive positions at Kroger and Dillons Companies, which merged in 1983.

As part of the Customer 1st Strategy, Mr. Dillon and Mr. McMullen, who was then serving as vice-chairman, created and executed a long-term price investment strategy that has enabled Kroger to deliver sustainable business growth and shareholder returns, while also saving customers nearly $3 billion annually through lower prices. This laid the foundation for Kroger’s growth plan, announced in October 2012, which expands the Customer 1st Strategy by: accelerating growth in Kroger’s core business and improving the company’s connection with all customers; expanding Kroger’s presence in new and existing markets; and innovating to create unique competitive positioning for today and the future.

“For Dave, Customer 1st — which truly put our customers at the center of how Kroger runs its business — was more than a successful business strategy,” Mr. McMullen said. “It was a philosophy that he believed and lived through his actions every day, and as a result he inspired thousands of our associates during his many years of service to Kroger and Dillons Companies. He understood that Kroger’s greatest asset is the trust that our customers, associates and shareholders have in our company. We are all the beneficiaries of Dave’s extraordinary leadership.”