CINCINNATI, Feb. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) announced today the promotion of Jeff Burt as president of the company's Central division. Kroger's Central Division operates 136 food stores primarily in Indiana and Illinois. Mr. Burt, 50, has been group vice president of perishables merchandising and procurement since 2010. He succeeds Bob Moeder, who recently announced his plans to retire this spring. "In his 27-year career with Kroger, Jeff has demonstrated strong leadership skills and a deep understanding of our business," said Rodney McMullen, president and chief operating officer of Kroger. "His enthusiasm, keen sense of the customer, and experience in merchandising and operations will be tremendous assets to the Central Division team." Mr. Burt began his career with Kroger in 1986 as a management trainee. He has held a variety of leadership positions with the company in Cincinnati, Florida, Indianapolis and Seattle, including store manager, produce merchandiser and vice president of merchandising and operations. In 2004, he was named corporate vice president of deli/bakery merchandising and procurement, before being promoted to his most recent role in 2010. The Kroger Central Division has 136 food stores, 114 pharmacies and 75 fuel centers operating under four banners; Kroger, Scott's, Owen's and Pay Less, with locations primarily in Indiana and Illinois, in addition to three stores in Missouri, one in Michigan and one in Ohio. Kroger, one of the world's largest retailers, employs more than 339,000 associates who serve customers in 2,422 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. The company also operates 790 convenience stores, 344 fine jewelry stores, 1,141 supermarket fuel centers and 37 food processing plants in the U.S. Recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in America, Kroger supports hunger relief, breast cancer awareness, the military and their families, and more than 30,000 schools and grassroots organizations. Kroger contributes food and funds equal to 160 million meals a year through more than 80 Feeding America food bank partners. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber's Million Dollar Club. SOURCE The Kroger Co.