Movers & Shakers: Amazon’s Snags Tesco Veteran; Kroger, Smithfield Foods Make Exec Changes from Within

Welcome to Movers & Shakers, a roundup of recent executive changes in the retail industry.
Valeria Jabbar headshot
Valerie Jabbar

Kroger’s New Senior Vice President of Retail Divisions


Supermarket chain Kroger has named Valeria Jabbar, its current vice president of center store merchandising, as its next senior vice president of retail divisions.

Jabbar, who has been twice named a Top Woman in Grocery by Progressive Grocer, will take on her new role August 7. She will oversee retail divisions across the company, PG reported. 

"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 takes over for Steve McKinney, who is retiring after more than 40 years with Kroger. She first joined Kroger under the Fry’s brand as a store clerk in 1987 and has held several leadership roles across the company. She is also a board member of the Network for Executive Women.

See the full story at Progressive Grocer.

Shane Smith headshot
Shane Smith

Smithfield Foods Names New President and CEO


Smithfield Foods, a food company specializing in meat, has selected Shane Smith to serve as its next CEO and president.

Smith has been with the company for 20 years, most recently serving as chief strategy officer. Smith takes the helm from Dennis Organ, who took over the role in October 2020 but is stepping down for personal reasons, Progressive Grocer reported. 

Smith has also served as executive vice president of European operations and president of Smithfield Romania, overseeing hog farming operations and the Smithfield Renewables sustainability platform. He got his start at Smithfields as an analyst.

“I am honored to serve as Smithfield's next president and CEO and lead an incredible team of more than 63,000 people who all work together to provide families worldwide with wholesome, safe and affordable food,” Smith said. “Together with our talented leadership team, I look forward to furthering our long-term vision that has made us one of the world's leading consumer packaged protein companies, creating value for a broad range of stakeholders.”

The leadership change comes at a critical time for the company, after it experienced business challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hog supplies have also been dwindling while prices are rising as of late. President Joe Biden recently signed an executive order that aims to help smaller meat processors compete better with larger companies, according to PG.

See the full story at Progressive Grocer


Amazon Taps Tesco Exec to Run Physical Stores


Amazon has snagged Tony Hoggett, chief strategy and innovation director of U.K.-based supermarket chain Tesco, to run its physical stores.

Hoggett, who is moving to Seattle from across the pond with his wife and children for the role, will fill the role of senior vice president of physical stores in January 2022. He has been with Tesco for 31 years after starting his career as a trolley boy when he was 16. He has served several leadership roles with Tesco, including CEO of Asia and chief operating officer.

“It was a big decision to move on from Tesco but after meeting members of the Amazon leadership team and hearing the ambitions for the business and physical stores, I know it’s a journey and an opportunity that I want to be part of,” Hoggett said in a statement.

The leadership addition comes as Amazon is adding more grocery stores--some equipped with its proprietary technology--under its various brands, including Amazon Fresh.