First hired as a clerk in one of Kroger 's (NYSE:KR) formerly owned grocery stores 31 years ago, longtime Kroger veteran Steve McKinney has been named Fry's Foods new president, and will oversee its 119 stores in Arizona, Kroger announced today. McKinney was formerly VP of operations at Kroger's Ralphs division for the past six years, after 18 years in various leadership positions at Fry's Foods.

In it's statement, Kroger said that appointing a new president of Fry's Foods became an unexpected necessity after former president Jon Flora passed away a couple of weeks ago.

President and COO of Kroger Rodney McMullen said of McKinney's appointment, "In his 31 years with the company, Steve has demonstrated a deep knowledge of our industry, excellence in operations, and a passion for serving our customers and our associates."

Fry's has almost 18,000 employed at its 119 grocery and pharmacy outlets in Arizona, as well as its 70 fuel centers. Kroger operates over 2,418 stores across 31 states.