CINCINNATI — Don McGeorge, who as president and chief operating officer of Kroger Co. was influential in developing many of the retailer’s strategies, including its private brands and centralized operations, is retiring after 32 years with the company, the retailer said last week. Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s vice chairman, will assume the responsibilities of president and COO on Aug. 1, the company said. McGeorge, 55, began his career with Kroger as a store co-manager in Louisville, Ky. He went on to serve as president of Kroger’s Michigan and Columbus divisions and was later named executive vice president, responsible for all sales and merchandising, before being elected to his current role in 2003. “Don is a rare executive who combines strong strategic and merchandising skills with a deep respect for his fellow associates,” David B. Dillon, Kroger’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. McMullen, 48, joined Kroger in 1978 as a part-time store clerk. He has since held positions including corporate controller, chief financial officer and executive vice president of strategy, planning and finance. In his current role, his responsibilities include strategic initiatives, business planning, customer research, finance, corporate technology, real estate, logistics, fuel initiatives and the company’s convenience and jewelry stores.
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores here said it has named L. Mecole “Cole” Brown as the company’s new chief diversity officer. She will be responsible for the oversight and coordination of the diversity strategy for Wal-Mart’s U.S. business. Brown most recently was vice president of employment practices at the retailer. She joined Wal-Mart’s legal team in 2002. She will report to Tom Mars, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, Wal-Mart U.S. Brown succeeds Charlyn Jarrells Porter, who served as the company’s first chief diversity officer from 2004-2009. Porter announced her retirement in March, after more than 16 years with the company.
ROME — Ertharin Cousin, a former senior vice president of public affairs at Albertsons Inc., has been nominated to be the next U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Agencies for Food and Agriculture, based here. Cousin also was a longtime board member and officer of Feeding America, a Chicago-based hunger-relief charity, and had been an advisor to President Obama during his presidential campaign. Cousin most recently was president of The Polk Group, a Chicago-based public relations firm. She held executive public affairs posts at the Jewel Food Stores chain from 1997-1999 and at Jewel’s parent company, Albertsons, from 1999-2004. She is also a former Illinois assistant attorney general.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Arthur Keeney, who most recently was vice president and general manager at Butler, Pa.-based Friedman’s Supermarkets and previously was a Nash Finch executive, has joined Borders Group here, reuniting with former Nash Finch Chief Executive Officer Ron Marshall. As senior vice president of marketing at Borders, Keeney is responsible for directing sales-driving initiatives, leading the marketing and promotions team, and overseeing Borders.com. Keeney worked at Minneapolis-based Nash Finch from 1998 to 2001, and before that was with Kmart.