Kroger names Valerie Jabbar to key merchant role

Mike Troy
Editorial Director
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Valerie Jabbar named Group Vice President of Merchandising at Kroger after serving as President of the 191 unit Ralphs division

Veteran Kroger executive Valerie Jabbar was named to the new role of Group Vice President of Merchandising after previously serving as President of Kroger’s Ralphs division. She assumes the new role September 1 and her current position as head of the 191 unit Ralphs division in Southern California will be filled by Mike Murphy. He currently serves as Vice President of Operations for Kroger’s Columbus division.

"Valerie brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and insight to this role," said Mike Donnelly, Kroger's Executive Vice President and COO. "As we continue the work of Restock Kroger, her ability to lead and deliver for our associates and customers will continue to transform our business."

Restock Kroger is the name the company adopted to define a broad slate of initiatives designed to position the retailer for future growth.

Jabbar’s appointment to a key merchandising role at Kroger’s Cincinnati headquarters positions her to become the retailer’s most influential female executive and arguably the most powerful woman in food retailing. She began her career with Kroger in 1987 as a clerk in the company’s Fry's division and stayed for a career. For example, she held several leadership roles, including assistant store director, category manager, drug/general merchandise coordinator, corporate seasonal manager, and director of drug/general merchandise, as well as district manager in the Fry's division. In 2012, she moved to the Mid-Atlantic division to serve as vice president of merchandising before joining the Ralphs division in 2013 as vice president of merchandising. She was promoted to division president in July 2016.

She will report to Robert Clark, another veteran Kroger executive who joined the company in 1985, also as a clerk at Fry’s, and currently serves as Senior Vice President of Merchandising. Clark was elevated to that role in March 2016 after spending much of his career in merchandising and then in December 2017 former Executive Vice President of Merchandising Michael Donnelly was elevated to his current role as Executive Vice President and COO.