Valerie Jabbar, currently president of The Kroger Co.'s Compton, Calif.-based Ralphs division, is heading back to the retailer's corporate Cincinnati headquarters to assume new duties as group VP of merchandising , effective Sept. 1. Mike Murphy, currently VP of operations for Kroger’s Columbus division, will succeed Jabbar as president of Ralphs, which operates 191 stores in southern California
Jabbar began her Kroger career in 1987 as a clerk in the Fry's division. She has held several leadership roles, including assistant store director, category manager, drug/general merchandise coordinator, corporate seasonal manager and director of drug/general merchandise, as well as district manager in the Fry's division. In 2012, she moved to the Mid-Atlantic division to serve as VP of merchandising before joining the Ralphs division in 2013 in the same role. Jabbar was promoted to division president in July 2016.
“Valerie brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and insight to this role,” said Mike Donnelly, Kroger's EVP and COO. “As we continue the work of Restock Kroger, her ability to lead and deliver for our associates and customers will continue to transform our business.”
Jabbar also is the president of the Food Industries Circle and a board member for the Western Association of Food Chains, as well as the food industry executive in residence for the USC Marshall School of Business. She is a mentor for emerging leaders through the Ralphs division's women's associate resource group.
Murphy joined Kroger in 1999 as an accountant in the company’s auditing department in Cincinnati. He moved to finance in 2001 and then to drug/general merchandise to manage financial reporting and analysis. In 2004, he completed the management development program in the Cincinnati/Dayton division. In 2005, he was named a category manager for drug/general merchandise and personal care.
In 2007, Murphy moved to the Central division in Indiana and was assistant merchandiser for both drug/general merchandise and grocery. In 2011, Murphy moved to the Louisville division as a grocery merchandiser and was promoted to district manager in 2014. He was promoted to VP of merchandising in the Columbus division in 2016, and then to his current role in 2017.
“Mike is a dynamic leader who brings great passion to our business,” Donnelly said. “His strong commitment to our purpose and promise, and extensive grocery retail experience, make him a great asset to our Ralphs division.”