Albertsons Companies announced Wednesday that Jim Donald, currently the company’s president and chief operating officer, has been appointed president and chief executive officer, effective immediately. Robert Miller, currently the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, will continue as the chairman of the board.
Donald’s 47-year retail career began as a trainee in Florida with Publix Supermarkets. He joined Albertsons in 1976, which culminated in his being appointed vice president of operations in Arizona. In 1991, he was recruited personally by Sam Walton to join Walmart to lead the development of their grocery business and Superstore concept. Donald subsequently left for Safeway in 1994 to be the senior vice president of their 130-store Eastern region, a position he held for two years.
His first chief executive officer role was at Pathmark Stores from 1996 through 2002, followed by his most well-known appointment as president and chief executive officer at Starbucks, where he notably led the company through record growth, including five straight years of 20%+ annual earnings increases. Post Starbucks, Donald served as chief executive officer of two other companies, Haggen and Extended Stay America, Inc. Named one of the “Top 25 CEOs in the World” by The Best Practice Institute and one of Business Travel News’ “25 Most Influential Business Travel Executives” in 2013 for his leadership of Extended Stay America where he led its successful $565 million IPO, Donald joined Albertsons Companies in March 2018 as president and chief operating officer.
“Jim is an exceptional retailer. In the seven months since he joined Albertsons Companies, he’s flown tens of thousands of miles and met personally with thousands of employees in hundreds of our stores, distribution centers, manufacturing plants and offices around the country,” Miller said in a press release. “His expertise in listening to front-line employees and customers, facilitating employee engagement and generating sales is unmatched, and there is no better leader for Albertsons Companies at this state in our evolution.”
Donald said Albertsons Companies is uniquely positioned to “operate in both a ‘four walls’ traditional environment and the ‘no walls’ world of technology.”
“We serve 34 million customers each week across our 2,300-plus stores and serve 5.5 million patients in our 1,700-plus pharmacies,” he said. “That’s a significant food, health and wellness footprint. We’re well positioned to serve the evolving needs of today’s customer, wherever and whenever they choose to shop with us.”
Albertsons Companies, Inc. is one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States. Albertsons Cos. operates stores across 35 states and the District of Columbia under 20 banners including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs, as well as meal kit company Plated based in New York City.