Thirteen days after Albertsons Cos. announced that it planned to acquire approximately 2,500 Rite Aid drug stores in a cash-and stock deal, the Boise, ID-based grocery retailer said that it has hired industry veteran Jim Donald to serve as president and COO of the supermarket chain.
Donald returns to the company where he cut his teeth in the supermarket business in the mid-1970s.
In his new post, Donald will have responsibility for the operations of the retailer’s more than 2,300 store portfolio and help with the acceleration of the company’s growing omnichannel platform. Following the close of the merger with Rite Aid, Donald will continue in this role and work alongside the rest of the combined company’s leadership team. Donald replaces Wayne Denningham, who retired earlier this year. Susan Morris, who was named executive VP and chief operations officer in January 2018, will continue in her role.
“Jim Donald has built an exceptional career in retail. His knowledge of our company and industry is unmatched, and I know his contributions will be invaluable as we enter the next chapter of Albertsons Companies,” said Albertsons CEO Bob Miller. “We look forward to tapping his expertise in leading large consumer brands as we work every day to meet our customers’ needs, both in-store and online.”
Said Donald, “Having first worked at Albertsons 42 years ago, I have watched as an insider and from afar how their keen focus on customer service maintained a solid foundation for their team through the years. Their acquisitive nature combined with their recent innovation efforts and strong Own Brands portfolio have helped them to build an even stronger company today. I look forward to being a part of the team that takes this great company into the future and continues to serve the food, health, and wellness needs of today’s busy customers.”
The 64-year old executive returns to the company where he cut his teeth in the supermarket business in the mid-1970s. Most recently, Donald served as CEO of Extended Stay Hotels from 2012-2015. In addition to his previous stint at Albertsons (in Florida and Texas), Donald has served in leadership positions with Walmart, Safeway’s eastern division (prior to Albertsons’ ownership), Haggen and as chief executive of Pathmark. Donald also was CEO of Starbucks from 2005-2008. He still resides in Seattle and had also served as a member of the board of directors of Rite Aid from 2008 to 2013.