The senior vice president of human resources for US grocery retailer Winn-Dixie Stores has been promoted to SVP of retail operations.

Laurence Appel, who joined Winn-Dixie in 2002 and also served as general counsel and corporate secretary, will take up his role from today (5 January). He replaces Frank Eckstein, who retired but will continue to serve in an advisory capacity until the end of Winn-Dixie’s 2011 fiscal year.

Appel will report to Peter Lynch, Winn-Dixie’s chairman, CEO, and president.

“Larry has tremendous experience with Winn-Dixie and in retail in general, having worked at Winn-Dixie for nearly a decade and at Home Depot prior to that,” Lynch said. “I am confident he will make a very positive impact on the management of our stores as we continue to execute our strategic initiatives and lay the foundation for our future growth.”

Appel will be succeeded as general counsel by Timothy Williams, who joined Winn-Dixie in 2003 and formerly served as assistant general counsel; and as SVP of human resources by Anita Dahlstrom-Gutel, formerly VP of corporate human resources.