“Chairman Bob” to retire from Roundy’s

Mariano exiting Kroger-owned grocer

Bob Mariano
Mariano

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:24 pm

“Chairman Bob,” whose likeness and signature have graced a variety of Roundy’s products sold at Pick ‘n Save and Metro Market stores for the past 14 years, is retiring from the grocer Sept. 1.

Bob Mariano
Mariano

Bob Mariano, the Roundy’s chairman and chief executive officer makes the move as Cincinnati-based grocery giant The Kroger Co. integrates Roundy’s into its operations. Kroger acquired Milwaukee-based Roundy’s for $866 million in December and has been making a number of changes this year.

As part of the separation, announced today by Kroger, Mariano, 66, will be retained in a strategic adviser role to Kroger and Roundy’s for two years.

Don Rosanova, president of Mariano’s, and Michael Marx, president of Roundy’s Supermarkets Wisconsin, will remain in their positions. They were promoted to these positions in March.

Mariano has worked in the grocery industry since 1967, when he started at the deli counter and ascended to president and CEO of the Dominick’s supermarket chain in Chicago in 1995. He took Dominick’s public in 1996 and it was acquired by Safeway in 1998, at which time he was ousted and spent several years out of the industry under a non-compete agreement.

After Mariano was hired to lead Roundy’s Supermarkets Inc. in 2002. Its Pick ‘n Save stores have been a strong market leader under his direction, but in recent years have faced stiff competition in the Milwaukee market from big box retailers and upscale grocers. He also has overseen the Copps brand stores and the expansion of two upscale grocery brands, the Metro Market banner in the Milwaukee market and the Mariano’s banner in Chicago, named after him, which launched in 2010 and has grown to 34 stores.

Roundy’s has a total of 23,000 employees, 13,000 of whom are in Wisconsin. Kroger has 431,000 employees at 2,778 retail stores under several banner names in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Its leaders have explained it acquired Roundy’s to enter the lucrative Chicago and Wisconsin markets.

“Bob has been a tremendous leader for Roundy’s and the entire supermarket industry. The centerpiece of his career, of course, is the Mariano’s chain of stores in his hometown of Chicago,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “We see a bright future ahead for our Pick ‘n Save and Metro Market stores in Wisconsin and for Mariano’s stores in Chicago. And we look forward to our continued partnership with Bob as a strategic consultant and advisor. The entire Kroger and Roundy’s family extends our best wishes to Bob and his family in retirement.”

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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