Supermarket giantThe Kroger Co ., Cincinnati, said it promotedMichael J. Donnellyto senior vice president of merchandising.  Donnelly previously was president of the company's Ralphs Grocery Company division, based in Los Angeles, since August 2007.

In his new position, Donnelly will lead all Kroger merchandising and procurement activities, officials said

Kroger said Donnelly began his grocery career in 1978 with Fry's of California. In 1989, he moved to Arizona as a district manager for Fry's and later became vice president of merchandising. Donnelly then led the Fry's division as president from 2000 until 2002 when he was appointed group vice president for drug/GM at Kroger's general office in Cincinnati. He returned to Fry's in 2003 and remained there as president of the Arizona-based division until he was appointed president of Ralphs in 2007.

"We are very pleased to have Mike join our team as our senior vice president of merchandising.  He is well respected within our company and the industry for his merchandising excellence," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger president and chief operating officer. "Mike's extensive industry experience will help Kroger continue to build and strengthen our partnerships with suppliers and vendors that are so important to Kroger's success.".

Kroger says it operates 2,449 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 785 convenience stores, 359 fine jewelry stores, 1,035 supermarket fuel centers and 40 food processing plants in the United States.