CINCINNATI — The Kroger Co. has announced the retirement of Steve McKinney, senior vice president of retail divisions, after more than 40 years of distinguished service, effective Aug. 7. McKinney will be succeeded by Valerie Jabbar, currently group vice president of center store merchandising.
McKinney began his career with Kroger in 1981 as a clerk for Florida Choice Supermarkets, a former Kroger banner. While there, he advanced to store manager, buyer and field representative before moving to Fry's Food Stores, where he held several leadership positions before being named vice president of operations in 1998.
"Steve is an accomplished leader who has inspired generations of associates to achieve excellence while mentoring many into leadership positions. As a leader who worked in numerous positions and took on new responsibilities, he also committed to the mentoring and development of any associate interested and willing to grow with the company," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "We thank Steve for his dedication throughout the years and wish him all the best in retirement."
Jabbar joined the company at Fry's as a store clerk in 1987 and held several leadership roles at Fry's before moving to the Mid-Atlantic division in 2012 to serve as vice president of merchandising. In 2013, she was named vice president of merchandising for the Ralphs division and was then promoted to president of that division in July 2016. She was promoted to group vice president of merchandising in 2018 before being named to her current role as group vice president of center store merchandising in 2019.
In this new role, Jabbar will oversee several retail divisions across the company.
"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 is a board member for the Network of Executive Women. She was twice recognized by Progressive Grocer as a Top Women in Grocery recipient, first in 2012 as a Rising Star and most recently, in 2021, as a Senior-level Executive. In 2018, she was named West Woman of the Year by the Shelby Report, received the California Conference for Equality and Justice Humanitarian Award, and was designated as the USC Marshall School of Business Food Industry Executive Program Executive in Residence.