Dave Dillon, the CEO of US grocery giant Kroger, is to step down from the role at the turn of the year after over a decade in charge of one of the largest food retailers in the US.

Dillon, who became Kroger CEO in 2003, will hand over to president and COO Rodney McMullen on 1 January.

In a statement today (20 September), Dillon said “the time is right” for a change of CEO as Kroger “implements is strategic growth initiatives”.

Dillon, who will stay on as chairman, added: “Rodney has played a leadership role in every major decision Kroger has made for the past 25 years, including the development and implementation of Kroger’s Customer 1st approach as well as our current growth strategy. He is ready to be CEO.”

McMullen, 53, joined the retailer, which has over 2,400 stores in the US, in 1978. He has been president and COO for four years. He said: “I am excited to lead our efforts to build on Kroger’s market position and competitive advantages to drive value for our shareholders and to strengthen our deep connection with our great associates, our millions of customers and the communities we call home.”