The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) announced this morning that CEO David Dillon is leaving the company. Dillon, who has served as the head of the company for the last ten years, will be succeeded by the company’s chairman and Chief Operating Officer W. Rodney McMullen. Dillon is 62 years old and has been with The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) for 37 years.

Kroger

In response to the announcement shares in The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) traded up a fraction on today’s market. A note on the succession plan, released by Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) analyst Deborah L. Weinswig, left the Buy rating on the stock unchanged and was positive on the plan overall.

Kroger CEO change

The man tipped to succeed David Dillon is Chief Operating Officer W. Rodney McMullen. McMullen is 53 years old, and has been at the company for the last 25 years. He has been serving as the COO and president of the company since 2003, and he’s been a director of the company’s board since 2009.

In her report, Weinswig said that McMullen has a great relationship with the investment community, and noted that he has been a participant in The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) earnings calls for quite a long time. The Citigroup report predicts that the transition at the top of the company is likely to go smoothly.

David Dillon will retire from his position at the head of the company on January 1, 2014, and McMullen will replace the executive immediately.

Kroger outlook

The Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) report put a price target of $44 on shares in The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR). This morning shares in the retailer were trading at just over $41. Weinswig rated the company a Buy in the report. Shares in the company have done incredibly well so far this year, adding more than 55 percent to their value since January 1.

In the ten years that David Dillon has preside over the company, shares have risen by about 125 percent. The firm saw sharp growth just before the 2008 financial crisis, and again in the last year. Shares hit a new all time high on this morning’s market. If the success of the company continues through the Winter, Dillon will have gotten out of the firm at a high point.