Kroger's Steve McKinney Announces Retirement, Taps Valerie Jabbar as Successor; Rodney McMullen and Mary Ellen Adcock Comment
CINCINNATI, OH - The proverbial seasons have changed for Kroger as it announces an upcoming executive transition. Valerie Jabbar, currently Group Vice President of Center Store Merchandising, has been named as the new Senior Vice President of Retail Divisions. She succeeds Steve McKinney, who is set to retire after more than 40 years of distinguished service.
In her new role, Jabbar will oversee several retail divisions across the company. She originally joined the retail industry when she entered a store clerk role at Fry's, which is a Kroger division, in 1987. She 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, Jabbar was named Vice President of Merchandising for Kroger’s Ralphs division and was then promoted to President of that division in July 2016. She was then promoted to Group Vice President of Merchandising in 2018 before being named to her current role in 2019.
Jabbar is a Board Member for the Network of Executive Women. She was twice recognized with a Top Women in Grocery award, first in 2012 as a Rising Star and most recently in 2021 as a Senior-level Executive. In 2018, she was named West Woman of the Year, received the California Conference for Equality and Justice Humanitarian Award, and was designated as the USC Marshall School of Business Food Industry Executive Program Executive in Residence.
"Valerie is a dedicated leader who provides strong results through her passion for people, both associates and customers. 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," said Mary Ellen Adcock, Senior Vice President of Operations. "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."
McKinney's exit will be official as of August 7.
He 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 Food Stores, where he held several leadership positions before being named Vice President of Operations in 1998.
According to a press release, McKinney also served as Vice President of Operations for the Southwest division and Vice President of Operations for the Ralphs division. He was named President of the Fry's division in 2013 before assuming his current role in 2018.
"Steve is an accomplished leader who has inspired generations of associates to achieve excellence while mentoring many into leadership positions. 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," said Rodney McMullen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "We thank Steve for his dedication throughout the years and wish him all the best in retirement."
Congratulations to each of these trailblazing retail leaders as they take the next steps in their journey.