Kroger Announces Leadership Changes, Including New Chief Merchant and Marketing Officer
CINCINNATI, OH - A whole host of executive changes has just hit Kroger. The retailer recently announced the promotion of Stuart W. Aitken to Chief Merchant and Marketing Officer after Joe Grieshaber’s retirement. Yael Cosset, currently Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, will also assume responsibility for alternative business and Kroger’s data analytics subsidiary 84.51˚.
"Today's leadership announcements are consistent with our positive track record of strong succession planning and will help us to continue to drive transformation of our business and culture, focusing on speed, action, and agility to deliver value for our customers and shareholders," said Rodney McMullen, Chairman and CEO, in a recent press release. "We are greatly appreciative of the unique talents and contributions that each of these leaders has provided to Kroger to create a best-in-class experience for our associates and customers."
Aitken, who is currently Senior Vice President of Alternative Business and CEO of 84.51˚, will succeed Grieshaber, effective August 1. As Chief Merchant and Marketing Officer, Aitken will be responsible for sales, pricing, planning, promotions, execution, analytics, e-commerce and digital merchandising, and Our Brands.
"Stuart's outstanding leadership and deep history of putting the customer first through data-driven decisions and personalization will further transform our business for growth," stated McMullen. "Bringing together merchandising and marketing under one leader will strengthen our brand promise of Fresh for Everyone."
Aitken brings a variety of experience both within Kroger and outside of it. At Kroger, Aitken was named a Group Vice President and has led 84.51˚ as CEO since its inception in 2015. In 2019, Aitken was promoted to Senior Vice President of Alternative Business and then tasked with managing several groups, including 84.51°, Kroger Precision Marketing, and Kroger Personal Finance. As head of marketing, Aitken guided the company through its Fresh for Everyone brand transformation campaign in November 2019.
Prior to Kroger, Aitken acquired many years of marketing, academic, and technical experience with other companies, including Michael's Stores, Safeway, and dunnhumby USA, where he served as CEO from 2009 to 2015.
Cosset, Senior Vice President and Chief Information officer, will then assume responsibility for the alternative profit business portfolio and 84.51°, effective August 1. He will still continue to lead Kroger Technology & Digital.
"Yael will continue to play an essential role in accelerating our grocery-to-growth business model," said McMullen. "His exemplary leadership, vision, and customer-first obsession to make people's lives easier using technology and data will help us to create more personalized and engaging shopping experiences and drive more trips."
In 2017, Cosset was promoted to Group Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, where he led the company's overall digital growth strategy. In 2019, he was promoted to his current position. Throughout his career, Cosett has held several leadership roles. At dunnhumby USA, for example, he served as Executive Vice President of Consumer Markets and Global Chief Information Officer.
Cosset has been a member of 84.51°'s advisory Board for the last three years, helping shape the business's strategy and direction.
Last, but not least, Kroger is saying goodbye to Joe Grieshaber, who began his career with the retailer in 1983. Since then, he has served in numerous roles, including as a Meat Merchandiser and District Manager for the Michigan division. Grieshaber was then promoted to Vice President of Merchandising of the Columbus division, where he later assumed the role of Corporate Group Vice President of Perishables Merchandising and Procurement. In 2010, he was named President of the Dillons division and served in that role for both Columbus and Fred Meyer divisions before being promoted to his current role in 2019.
"We thank Joe for his 37 years of service, leading with excellence by developing and uplifting associates and creating and executing innovative, results-oriented strategies," said McMullen. "He's been instrumental to Kroger as an accomplished leader with a passion for people and results, and we wish him all the best in retirement."
Congratulations to all three men on this next step in their lives!