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ZINCKE ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT AFTER 40 YEARS WITH KROGER;
COMPANY PROMOTES FIVE VETERAN EXECUTIVES TO KEY MANAGEMENT POSITIONS
CINCINNATI, OH, September 9, 2004 -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) today announced that Robert E. Zincke plans to retire later this year after a 40-year career with the Company, most recently as executive vice president overseeing Kroger’s merchandising strategy. Kroger also announced the promotion of five veteran executives to key management positions within the Company.
Mr. Zincke, 61, plans to retire October 31, capping an extraordinary career of service to Kroger and its customers. He joined Kroger as a management trainee in 1964. From 1990 to 2002, he served as president of Kroger’s Southwest Division, which at the time operated 212 stores in Texas and Louisiana. In 2002, Mr. Zincke was promoted to senior vice president of the Company and relocated to Cincinnati to oversee several retail divisions. Last year, he was promoted to his current position.
“Bob has been an exceptional officer of the Company. We are grateful for his dedication, expertise and integrity,” said David B. Dillon, Kroger chairman and chief executive officer.
The Company also announced that Donald E. Becker, 55, has been promoted to executive vice president and assumes responsibility for Kroger’s overall merchandising. For the past four years, he has served as senior vice president of the Company, overseeing six retail operating divisions. Prior to that, he spent four years as president of Kroger’s Central division based in Indianapolis. Mr. Becker began his Kroger career in 1969 as a store clerk in Cincinnati.
Paul Scutt, 55, has been promoted to senior vice president of Kroger. Mr. Scutt, who previously was group vice president of retail operations, will continue to be responsible for identifying and coordinating "best practices" to improve the operating efficiency of the Company’s more than 2,500 retail stores, as well as store productivity, shrink and worker safety. He also served as president of Kroger’s Central Division, based in Indianapolis, for two years. Mr. Scutt has 39 years of experience in the food retail industry.
John Burgon, 57, has been promoted to senior vice president of the Company. He will be responsible for five operating divisions. For the past three years, he has served as president of Ralphs Grocery Co. in southern California. Prior to that, he spent four years as president of King Soopers in Denver, Colorado. He began his retail career with King Soopers in 1973 as a produce clerk. He later held a variety of upper-level management positions within several Kroger divisions, including executive vice president of Fry's and later vice president of Dillon Companies. Mr. Burgon will be based in Kroger’s corporate office in Cincinnati and is expected to be elected an officer of the Company by Kroger’s Board of Directors.
Dave Hirz, 49, has been promoted to president of Ralphs Grocery Co. Mr. Hirz has been president of Food 4 Less, the Company’s price-impact warehouse division, since 1999. Prior to that, he served as group vice president of operations. He joined Food 4 Less in 1991. Before that, Mr. Hirz held leadership positions with The Boys Markets from 1985 to 1991, including store director, district manager and manager of store operations and administration. He began his supermarket industry career in 1971 as a courtesy clerk with Fisher-Fazio Markets in Cleveland.
A successor to Mr. Hirz at Food 4 Less will be named at a later date.
Mike Ellis, 46, has been promoted to group vice president of grocery, drug/general merchandise and pharmacy merchandising, procurement and advertising. For the past five years he has served as senior vice president, food group, for Fred Meyer Stores, a division of Kroger based in Portland, Oregon. He joined Fred Meyer in 1975 as a parcel clerk, and has served in several grocery merchandising and management positions during his career. In 1994, he was named vice president, grocery merchandiser. Four years later, he was promoted to group vice president at Fred Meyer. Mr. Ellis will be based in Cincinnati and is expected to be elected an officer of the Company by Kroger’s Board.
"These talented executives bring a wide variety of retail operations and marketing experience to their new posts," said Don McGeorge, Kroger president and chief operating officer. "Each has established an impressive record of achievement at our divisions."
Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kroger is one of the nation’s largest retail grocery chains. At the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2004, the Company operated (either directly or through its subsidiaries) 2,536 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 32 states under two dozen banners including Kroger, Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, King Soopers, Smith’s, Fry’s, Fry’s Marketplace, Dillons, QFC and City Market. Kroger also operated (either directly or through subsidiaries, franchise agreements, or operating agreements) 794 convenience stores, 439 fine jewelry stores, and 42 food processing plants. For more information about Kroger, please visit our web site at www.kroger.com.
Media Contact: Gary Rhodes
Investor Contact: Carin Chabut
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