Fred Meyer parent names Vancouver native new COO

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photoMike Ellis

A Vancouver native who started his Fred Meyer career in 1975 as a parcel clerk will become the president and chief operating officer of Kroger Co.

The Cincinnati-based retailer, which owns Fred Meyer, has tapped Michael Ellis for the executive job.

The move, effective Jan. 1, 2014, will complete a succession plan announced in September.

Ellis, 55, is currently Kroger's senior vice president of retail divisions, where he leads five retail supermarket divisions and Kroger's jewelry and convenience store businesses. He previously served as president of Portland-based Fred Meyer -- Kroger's largest operating division by revenue -- for six years.

"Mike's broad-based experience on both the food and general merchandise sides of our business make him a great fit for this role," David Dillon, Kroger's chairman and CEO, said in a news release.

After joining Fred Meyer 38 years ago, Ellis went on to serve in a series of operations and merchandising leadership positions in stores, division management and as a corporate officer. He was vice president of Fred Meyer's food group before joining Kroger as a senior officer in 2004. He returned to Portland to lead Fred Meyer as president in 2006.

In Kroger's news release, Ellis said he's committed to helping the company deliver on its "high-velocity growth plan for our customers, associates and shareholders."