In a sudden announcement, Mike Ellis, Kroger’s President and Chief Operating Officer, has retired.
Ellis, a faithful company employee for forty years, was appointed to his current position in January 2014. A news release issued on Tuesday did not indicate his official reason for leaving, though a report from the Cincinnati Business Courier claims Ellis had retired for “personal reasons,” according to Kroger spokesman Keith Dailey. Dailey would not go into more detail about the personal reasons regarding Ellis’ departure, though he noted that as a result of his retirement he would be closer to his family living in Portland.
“We’re very grateful to Mike for his contributions over the past 40 years, and we wish him all the best in retirement,” said Rodney McMullen, Chairman and CEO. “We have long taken a team approach to leadership and together our highly-experienced team of operators and merchandisers is focused on delivering on our aggressive growth goals.”
According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Monday, Ellis and Kroger have reached an agreement that calls for his “fulfillment of certain confidentiality, cooperation, and other restrictions,” according to the Cincinnati Business Courier. The agreement calls for Ellis’ granted but unvested stock options to be vested. Those options are exercisable in two years.
Ellis started his career as a 16-year-old working as a parcel clerk at Fred Meyer. He went on to serve various operations and merchandising leadership positions, division management, and as a corporate officer, according to a press release. He was named Vice President of Fred Meyer’s food group before joining The Kroger Co. as a Senior Officer in 2004. In 2006, he returned to Fred Meyer to lead as President. By 2012, he was promoted to Senior Vice President of Retail Divisions, leading five operating divisions, as well as Kroger’s jewelry and convenience store businesses.
Until Ellis’ successor is named at a later date, McMullen will assume the role of President and Principal Operating Officer on an interim basis.