CINCINNATI – Paul Scutt, senior vice president or retail operations for the Kroger Co., will retire in February 2011 after a 45-year career with the company.

"Paul has been a driving force behind Kroger's safety, productivity and cost-control improvements," said David Dillon, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "Under Paul's leadership, the company has significantly reduced employee accidents, improved management of product shrink and other operating costs, and instituted process changes that have allowed Kroger to invest in its Customer 1st strategy."

"Paul has been an important leader in our company and his influence on our business operations will be felt for many years to come," added Rodney McMullen, president and COO. "He led us in creating solutions that allow Kroger to operate safer and more efficient stores."

Scutt joined Kroger in 1965 as a store clerk. In 1970, he left Kroger to serve in the US Army, including a 15-month tour in Vietnam. Upon his return from military service with the rank of Specialist 5th class, Scutt earned his degree from Indiana University and entered Kroger's management-training program.

In 1976, he became a store manager and rose through the company's operations and merchandising leadership positions. He was named vice president of the Dillon Companies in 1997 and in 2000 he was appointed president of the Kroger Central Marketing Area, based in Indianapolis. In 2002, he became an officer of the company and joined the senior executive team based in Cincinnati, leading retail operations.