Kroger names new Nashville chief

Grocery giant splits Mid-South group, relocates Michigan president

Grocery chain Kroger has chosen a three-decade company veteran to lead its newly established Nashville division, which has been formally separated from its Louisville sister organization.

Rick Going, who has been president of Kroger's Michigan division since 2007, has been named president of the Cincinnati-based chain's new Nashville division. The local group includes almost 12,000 employees at 63 stores in Middle Tennessee as well as the Knoxville and Huntsville markets. Going has been with Kroger since 1981.

Kroger executives had since 1990 run both its Middle Tennessee operations and Louisville-area operations under their Mid-South Division. Longtime group leader John Hackett, who oversaw that merger more than two decades ago, recently retired after half a century with Kroger.

"Opportunities for growth in Tennessee, northern Alabama, Kentucky, and Southern Illinois and Indiana inspired us to take this path," said Kroger President and COO Rodney McMullen in a statement. "We believe this move will enable our associates to do what they do best — meet the needs of our local customers and neighbors, our communities, and each other."

Kroger (Ticker: KR) employs 343,000 people who work in more than 2,400 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states. The company recently reported first-quarter profits of $484 million on sales of more than $30 billion.