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Kroger announces exec changes, hiring event

The Kroger Co. announced the retirement of Sukanya Madlinger, senior vice president of retail divisions, and the promotion of Calvin Kaufman to succeed her. Kaufman currently serves as president of Kroger's Louisville division. Ann Reed will succeed Kaufman as president of the Louisville division.krolog

Additionally, the company said it will hold open interviews in its stores nationwide on Saturday, May 20. The company announced earlier this year that it will add an estimated 10,000 permanent positions in its supermarket divisions in 2017.

"Throughout her accomplished career, Sukanya has exemplified true leadership," Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a press release. "Sukanya's focus on developing future talent and fostering strong partnerships helped build a deep bench of leaders to sustain Kroger's future growth. The entire Kroger family wishes her and her family the best in retirement."

Madlinger joined Kroger in 1986 as a store management trainee in the Cincinnati/Dayton division and has held a variety of leadership positions in stores and merchandising throughout her tenure. In 2003, she was named vice president of drug/general merchandise/pharmacy merchandising and procurement for Kroger's corporate office in Cincinnati. Madlinger returned to the Cincinnati/Dayton division in 2008 as vice president of merchandising, and was promoted to lead the division as president in 2010. She was promoted to her current role as senior vice president of retail stores in 2015.

"Calvin is an unwavering advocate for improving the customer and associate experience in ways that will accelerate growth and create shareholder value," said McMullen. "His passion for strengthening our corporate culture and clarifying our company purpose makes him a natural fit for our leadership team."

Kaufman joined Kroger in 1994 in the Fred Meyer Logistics group in Portland, OR. He served Fred Meyer in several different logistics roles, including group vice president of Fred Meyer Logistics. Kaufman went on to serve in several leadership roles with Kroger's logistics team before being named president of Kroger Manufacturing and Corporate Brands in 2008. He was named to his current role as president of the Louisville Division in 2013.

Kaufman has previously represented Kroger on the boards of the International Dairy Foods Association, American Baker's Association, and the Kentucky Retail Federation.

"Ann has shown tremendous leadership in driving our Customer 1st Promise and company purpose into our business strategy," said Mr. McMullen. "Ann brings to our Louisville division team her dedication to and deep understanding of our customers, associates and communities."

Reed began her career with Kroger as a co-manager in the company's Central division in 1993. She has served in a number of leadership positions in divisions and at Kroger's general office, including store manager, category manager, deli/bakery merchandiser, director of deli/bakery and director of fresh ready meals. Reed was promoted to vice president of merchandising at Fry's in 2010, followed by vice president of merchandising at Fred Meyer in 2013. She was named to her current position in 2015.

Last year, the company's total active workforce grew by more than 12,000 associates. Over the last eight years, Kroger has created more than 86,000 new jobs. These figures do not include jobs created as a result of capital investment, such as temporary construction jobs, nor do they include increases due to the company's mergers.

"Summer is a great time to join our family of stores. Whether preparing and delivering online orders as a member of our ClickList teams or setting up farm-to-table produce stands, we get a fresh chance each day to make real personal connections with customers in our stores," Tim Massa, Kroger's group vice president of human resources and labor relations, said in a press release. "If you love people and love food, Kroger is a place where you can come for a job and stay for a career."

The May 20 event is the first one-day hiring Kroger is hosting this year, after hosting successful events last year. The company plans a second hiring event, open exclusively to military veterans and their family members, in the fall.