Kroger has a new head of its retail divisions, naming Valerie Jabbar to the post, following the retirement of Steve McKinney after nearly 40 years with the grocer.
Jabbar steps into the role of senior vice president of retail divisions from her role as overseeing the center store as group vice president of center store merchandising. Jabbar’s been with the company since 1987, joining Fry’s as a store clerk. She held several leadership roles at Fry's before moving to the Mid-Atlantic division in 2012 to serve as vice president of merchandising.
Then, 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.
In this new role, Jabbar will oversee several retail divisions across the company.
"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, Kroger's 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."
Jabbar is a board member for the Network of Executive Women. She was twice recognized by Progressive Grocer, a sister publication of Store Brands, as a Top Women in Grocery recipient.
She will succeed McKinney, who is retiring after career that began in 1981 as a clerk for Florida Choice Supermarkets, a former Kroger banner. He advanced to store manager, buyer and field representative before moving to Fry’s Food Stores, holding several leadership positions. Ultimately, he was named VP of operations.
He then 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 as senior vice president of retail divisions 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, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "We thank Steve for his dedication throughout the years and wish him all the best in retirement."