Ex-Kroger SVP to Run Longs Drug Stores

Oct 31, 2002

By George Anderson

Where do old Kroger executives go when they leave the company? They go to drugstore
chains, of course.

Longs Drug Stores has announced that its Board of Directors has selected Warren
Bryant, former senior vice president, Kroger to be the company’s new president
and chief executive officer. (Robert Miller, another former Kroger senior executive,
has been leading Rite-Aid’s turnaround.)

Mr. Bryant succeeds Harold Somerset, who will become vice chairman of the board
for Longs.

Speaking of his new job and company, Mr. Bryant said, “I’m very familiar with
Longs’ strong regional presence due to my assignments in Kroger’s Western Region.
I now have the opportunity to better involve myself with a company whose market
leadership in the chain drug industry is well known. My first priority is learning
Longs by spending time in the stores working with the people who serve our customers
on a daily basis.”

Mr. Somerset will continue to oversee corporate while Mr. Bryant makes store
rounds and transitions into his new role.

Moderator’s Comment: Two Questions–

  1. What is it about Kroger executives that make them
    attractive as leaders of other companies (sort of the GE of the retail world)?
  2. What is going on at Kroger that two senior executives
    have left the company in the same week?

A couple of days ago, Shopko Stores announced that Sam
Duncan was its new chief executive and president. Mr. Duncan was previously
president of Fred Meyer (a division of Kroger).

Anderson – Moderator

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