The Kroger Co. has announced the retirement of Fred Meyer president Lynn Gust and the promotion of Jeff Burt to succeed him. Burt currently serves as president of Kroger's Central division.
Fred Meyer Stores, based in Portland, Ore., offers one-stop shopping at 132 multi-department stores in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Burt began his career with Kroger in 1986 as a management trainee. He has held a variety of leadership positions with the company in Cincinnati, Florida, Indianapolis and Seattle, including store manager, produce merchandiser and vice president of merchandising and operations. In 2004, he was named corporate vice president of deli/bakery merchandising and procurement, before being promoted to group vice president of perishables merchandising and procurement in 2010. He has served as president of Kroger's Central division since 2013.
"Jeff is a strong, dynamic leader who brings out the best in our associates," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "His enthusiasm for serving our customers combined with both broad and deep experience in our business – including in the Pacific Northwest – will serve our Fred Meyer team well. We are grateful he agreed to take on this important role."
Gust will retire from the company after 45 years of service, effective January 31.
"Throughout his distinguished career, Lynn as always led by empowering, encouraging and supporting others," said McMullen. "Lynn is widely respected throughout our company and industry for his passion for people, the food business, and the communities we serve. The entire Kroger family wishes Lynn and his family all the best in retirement."
Gust started his career with Kroger in 1970 as a parcel clerk at Fred Meyer's Fourth Plain store in Vancouver, Wash. In 1972, he entered Fred Meyer's food management program and advanced to serve in a variety of leadership roles in the division, including food department manager, training coordinator, grocery buyer and director of grocery sales & merchandising. He also attended the Cornell Food Executive Program in 1994. After serving as group vice president for the food group, he was named senior vice president of the store operations group in 2003. Mr. Gust was named executive vice president of corporate merchandising and advertising in 2006, followed by vice president of operations in 2011. He was promoted to president of Fred Meyer in 2012.
Under his leadership, Fred Meyer reached $10 billion in annual sales for the first time. Also under his leadership, Fred Meyer was recognized twice as one of Oregon's "Best Places to Work" by the Portland Business Journal, and twice as one of Oregon's "Healthiest Places to Work" by The Oregonian.
Following his retirement, Gust and his wife, Julie, will continue to be active in many community organizations in Portland and beyond, including serving on the Board of Trustees for Randall Children's Hospital.