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Kroger chairman retires, CEO Rodney McMullen to assume additional role


CINCINNATI — David Dillon, who led Kroger's development of the company's successful Customer 1st Strategy, will retire as chairman of the board on Dec. 31 after 38 years of service.

As expected, the Kroger Board of Directors on Thursday elected Rodney McMullen, Kroger's CEO, to the additional post of chairman, commencing Jan. 1, 2015. McMullen has served on the board of directors since 2003.

"For Dave, Customer 1st ‚— which truly put our customers at the center of how Kroger runs its business — was more than a successful business strategy. It was a philosophy that he believed and lived through his actions every day, and as a result he inspired thousands of our associates during his many years of service to Kroger and Dillons Companies," McMullen said. "He understood that Kroger's greatest asset is the trust that our customers, associates and shareholders have in our company. We are all the beneficiaries of Dave's extraordinary leadership."

Dillon served as Kroger's chairman from 2004 to 2014 and as CEO from 2003 to 2013. Prior to that, he held a variety of executive positions at Kroger and Dillons Companies, which merged in 1983. During his tenure as CEO, Kroger grew revenue by $45 billion, created 53,000 new jobs, reduced costs for eight consecutive years and returned $9.2 billion to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends, which were reinstated in 2006.

As part of the Customer 1st Strategy, Dillon and McMullen, who was then serving as vice chairman, had the foresight to create and execute a long-term price investment strategy that has enabled Kroger to deliver sustainable business growth and shareholder returns, while also saving customers nearly $3 billion annually through lower prices. This laid the foundation for Kroger's growth plan, announced in October 2012, which expands the Customer 1st Strategy by:

accelerating growth in Kroger's core business and improving the company's connection with all customers;

expanding Kroger's presence in new and existing markets;

and innovating to create unique competitive positioning for today and the future.

Kroger has also become a leader in supermarket sustainability under Dillon's leadership. The company has reduced energy consumption in stores by 35% since 2000 and reduced its carbon footprint by 4.4% since 2006. More than half of the company's 37 manufacturing facilities are zero waste. Kroger's efforts to feed families struggling with hunger have grown to total contributions of 250 million meals — 4 million meals per week — in 2013.

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