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ALDI veteran is Kroger's new division president

The Kroger Co. announced today the appointment of Liz Ferneding to Ruler division president, effective July 31. Ferneding succeeds Paul Bowen, who retired in May. Ferneding joins Kroger from ALDI, where she has served in a variety of leadership roles for the last 11 years, including an international assignment in Australia. Upon her return to the United States, Ferneding was promoted to marketing director and then earlier this year, she was promoted to director of corporate buying.

The Ruler division is headquartered in Seymour, IN, with 48 stores operating in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee. Ruler stores, which average 19,000 square feet, offer low prices and an expansive selection of Our Brands foods. Ruler will open two new stores later this year.

"Liz's extensive grocery retail experience in procurement, marketing, advertising, management and operations will be an asset to our Ruler associates, customers and community," Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a press release. "We have a lot of respect for the Ruler format and the customer it serves. Liz's talent and insights will help us sharpen our value-centric, small-format store."

"I'm excited to join the Ruler team to help further develop the format, grow the brand and enhance customer engagement," Ferneding said in the release. "I have admired the Kroger Co. both as a consumer and a competitor and have looked to the company throughout my tenure in the industry as a benchmark in grocery retail."

Ferneding is a graduate of the Farmer School of Business at Miami University.