US supermarket chain Kroger has announced the appointment of Stuart W Aitken as its new chief merchant and marketing officer, effective 1 August.
In the new role, Aitken will be responsible for sales, pricing, planning, promotions, execution, analytics, e-commerce, digital merchandising, and Our Brands along with marketing responsibilities.
Chairman and CEO of Kroger, Rodney McMullen, commented, "Stuart W Aitken’s outstanding leadership and deep history of putting the customer first through data-driven decisions and personalisation will further transform our business for growth.”
“Bringing together merchandising and marketing under one leader will strengthen our brand promise of Fresh for Everyone."
An Experienced Professional
Aitken is an experienced professional, who currently serves as the senior vice president of alternative business and CEO of 84.51˚ - the company’s data analytics subsidiary.
He led 84.51˚ since its inception in 2015 and played an important role in integrating data-based decision making into Kroger's merchandising system.
In January 2019, the company promoted Aitken to the position of senior vice president of alternative business, where he was tasked with managing several groups, including 84.51°, Kroger Precision Marketing and Kroger Personal Finance.
As the head of marketing, he guided the company through its Fresh for Everyone brand transformation campaign in November 2019, Kroger added.
Before joining Kroger, he held several leadership roles in other companies such as Michael's Stores, Safeway, Inc. and Dunnhumby USA, where he served as CEO from 2009 to 2015.
Aitken will succeed Joe Grieshaber, who will retire from the company after 37 years of service on 15 August.
In 1983, Grieshaber started his career with Kroger as a store management trainee in Nashville, Tennessee.
He went on to take up different roles including that of meat merchandiser and district manager for the company’s Michigan division.
He was later promoted to vice president of merchandising of the Columbus division then assumed the role of corporate group vice president of perishables merchandising and procurement.
In 2010, he was appointed president of the Dillons division and served as president of both the Columbus and Fred Meyer divisions until he took up the role of SVP and chief merchant in 2019.
'Leading With Excellence'
McMullen said, ”We thank Joe [Grieshaber] for his 37 years of service, leading with excellence by developing and uplifting associates and creating and executing innovative, results-oriented strategies.”
"He's been instrumental to Kroger as an accomplished leader with a passion for people and results, and we wish him all the best in retirement."
Elsewhere, Kroger’s senior vice president and chief information officer Yael Cosset will take over the responsibility of alternative business and 84.51˚, effective 1 August.
McMullen stated, "Yael will continue to play an essential role in accelerating our grocery-to-growth business model,"
"His exemplary leadership, vision and customer-first obsession to make people's lives easier using technology and data will help us to create more personalised and engaging shopping experiences and drive more trips."
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.