Sears names supermarket veteran Michel chief of food, health and pharmacy efforts

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Fast on the heels of her departure from Ahold USA’s Giant Foods of Landover supermarket unit, Robin Michel has been tapped for an increasingly critical role at retail giant Sears Holdings. Michel, who left as president of Giant-Landover in December 2010, will serve as SVP and president of food and consumables, health and beauty and pharmacy at Sears and its Kmart subsidiary.

Michel is charged with “the oversight, leadership and growth both in-store and online” of those categories, which have become key to the company’s effort to regain its momentum in the U.S. marketplace. She comes well-prepared for the task: At Giant-Landover, she was credited by Ahold USA Retail CEO Carl Schlicker for leading a successful turnaround campaign at the chain, which operates 180 supermarkets and food-drug combo stores in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia.

“Robin brings to the company a wealth of expertise in the grocery and pharmacy industry, and we are excited to welcome her to our team,” said Bruce Johnson, Sears interim CEO and president. “Under Robin's leadership, we'll be able to uniquely serve our customers by providing them greater value in all areas of health — including wellness, lifestyle, diet and nutrition — while offering [more than] 1,000 pharmacy locations nationwide.”

Those locations are part of Sears’ sprawling Kmart division, which has struggled to regain ground lost to archrival Walmart. Despite Walmart’s stunning ascendancy over the past two decades, Kmart retains a place among the nation’s top retailers of pharmacy and health and beauty aids, and likely will benefit from the infusion of new management and new ideas brought by the supermarket industry veteran.

Michel has held senior leadership roles with some of the industry’s top food and pharmacy retailers, including Roundy's Supermarkets, 7-Eleven and H-E-B. She started her career with Kroger, progressing from store director to regional VP.