Elaine Chao, a former U.S. Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush and more recently U.S. Secretary of Transportation under President Trump, has been elected to the board of directors of Kroger Co., the company said late Monday.
“We are pleased to welcome Elaine to Kroger,” Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “She’s an experienced national and global leader who brings to Kroger’s board deep knowledge of corporate governance, strategic and workforce management, and public-private partnerships as well as extensive experience at the highest levels of U.S. government.”
Chao’s career has involved leading domestic and international organizations across the public, private and non-profit sectors, including serving as U.S. Secretary of Labor, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, director on numerous Fortune 500 public company boards, president and CEO of the United Way of America, director of the Peace Corps and a banker with Citicorp and Bank of America, Kroger said.
Chao is the first Asian-Pacific American woman to serve in the President’s cabinet in U.S. history and the longest-serving U.S. cabinet secretary since World War II. She served all eight years (2011-2009) as a member of President Bush’s cabinet as Secretary of Labor. She resigned from her role as Transportation Secretary under President Trump the day after the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.
Chao’s husband is Mitch McConnell, the U.S. Senator from Kentucky.
She obtained her Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School after receiving her undergraduate degree in Economics from Mount Holyoke College. She is the recipient of 37 honorary doctorate degrees.
Chao is elected to serve until Kroger’s annual meeting of shareholders in June of 2022, at which time she will stand for election by shareholders.
“Kroger’s proactive board refreshment strategy ensures the organization benefits from the unique expertise and perspective of a diverse board of directors,” McMullen added. “Kroger’s board is committed to creating value for all of our stakeholders, including our shareholders, customers, associates and communities.”
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