Kroger CEO to Step Down in January

Current Chairman and CEO David Dillon, a 37-year veteran of Kroger (NYSE: KR  ) , will step down as CEO on Jan. 1, 2014, a post he's held since 2003, to make way for current President and COO W. Rodney McMullen to take the reins, Kroger announced today. Dillon, 62, will continue to serve as Kroger's chairman until Dec. 31, 2014.

McMullen, 53, another longtime Kroger employee, has served as president and COO of Kroger since 2009. McMullen began his career with Kroger as a part-time stock crewman in 1978.

Commenting on his appointment as Kroger's next CEO, McMullen said, "I am excited to lead our efforts to build on Kroger's market position and competitive advantages to drive value for our shareholders and to strengthen our deep connection with our great associates, our millions of customers and the communities we call home."

In a statement, Kroger's lead director, Robert Beyer, said of outgoing CEO Dillon, "Under his leadership, the company has consistently delivered value for shareholders, customers, and associates."

McMullen's successor as president and COO has not been named, the company said.

Yesterday, Kroger announced a 10% increase in its quarterly dividend, raising it to $0.165.

Last week, Kroger reported that its second-quarter profit climbed as it booked lower charges and tried to build shopper loyalty with improved offerings. Kroger, which also owns also Ralphs, Fry's, and other chains, is based in Cincinnati. Kroger has been working on shortening checkout wait times, expanding its store-brand lineup, and investing in making its loyalty program more sophisticated. The company also recently bought Harris Teeter, a regional grocer that has locations in eight states.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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