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Costco said this morning that Gary Millerchip, who yesterday said he was stepping down as Kroger's CFO after more than 15 years with the company, as its new CFO.

He succeeds Richard Galanti, who has been Costco's CFO for more than three decades.

Ron Vachris became Costco's new CEO just last month, succeeding Craig Jelinek, who is retiring.

As noted in MNB's original story, Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen had said that Millerchip would be his number two once the proposed acquisition of Kroger has been completed.  But Millerchip's departure upsets those plans;  he is being succeeded on an interim basis at Kroger by Todd Foley, the company's chief accounting officer.

KC's View:

Costco would not have been on my bingo card as Millerchip's destination.  It is an interesting move, especially since Costco's market strength has been cited by Kroger as one of the reasons that it ought to be allowed to acquire Albertsons.

If one assumes that a company's greatest strengths includes its people, then this has to be a big loss for Kroger - Millerchip knows the landscape as well as anyone, and he knows everybody's strengths and weaknesses.  For some reason (maybe a lack of confidence that the merger will be allowed?), he must have believed that Costco was where he wanted to place his bets.