CINCINNATI – The Kroger Co. announced June 19 that after 44 years of service Bill Breetz will retire from his role as Houston division president with the supermarket chain. The retirement will be effective Aug. 26. Marlene Stewart, who is currently the president of Kroger’s Dillons division, will succeed Breetz.

Colleen Juergensen, current vice president of merchandising of the Smith’s division, will step up to succeed Stewart as president of Dillons.

“Bill’s extraordinary career demonstrates a passion for people and a passion for results. He leads by caring deeply about associates and developing future leaders,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “Bill’s leadership has contributed to Kroger’s success and growth. The entire Kroger family thanks Bill for his many contributions over the years and wishes he and his family all the best in retirement.”

Breetz began his Kroger career in 1972 as a bagger in Louisville, Kentucky. He joined the company’s management training program and was named a co-manager in Cincinnati in 1977, after earning a degree at the Univ. of Louisville. Through the years, Breetz served in several leadership positions including store and district management and vice president of merchandising for the company’s Cincinnati/Dayton division. He was promoted to executive vice president of Kroger’s Southwest division in 2000, and was named president of the Southwest Division in 2002, and president of the Houston Division in 2015.

Stewart, who will succeed Breetz as president of the Houston division, also started her Kroger career as a bagger (in 1977 in the Cincinnati division). She served in many leadership roles in Cincinnati and was named director of operations for Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division in 2005, before being named vice president of operations in 2007. She then became vice president of merchandising in the company’s QFC division in 2011, and was promoted to her current position as president of Kroger’s Dillons division in 2015. She will take over for Breetz Aug. 28.

In other Kroger news, Pam Matthews will now serve as president of Kroger’s QFC division. Matthews, who is currently vice president of operations for Kroger’s Delta division, succeeds Dennis Gibson, who was recently named president of the King Soopers/City Market division.

“Kroger has an exceptionally strong team of leaders who are fueling our growth and improving our connection with customers,” McMullen said. “Marlene, Colleen and Pam bring unmatched depth and experience to their new roles. They will help Kroger continue to make a difference for our customers, associates, and communities — and by doing so create value for our shareholders.”