CINCINNATI — Joel S. Crowder, senior director of corporate brands and manufacturing sales at Kroger Co., will retire Sept. 2 following a 40-year career at the company. The retirement of Mr. Crowder, whose responsibilities put him in charge of baked foods sales and marketing at Kroger for many years, was announced by Erin S. Sharp, group vice-president of manufacturing.
Mr. Crowder joined Kroger in 1976 as a bagger in Little Rock, Ark., while attending college on the G.I. Bill. He later moved to Kroger Manufacturing in Cincinnati as a sales representative and later as a sales manager. At the company he has held numerous leadership positions, including director of sales/marketing in manufacturing and director of grocery merchandising. He was promoted to his current position in 2009, responsible for grocery and deli-bakery sales as well as the company’s inter-American Foods sales team. All told, Mr. Crowder had sales and marketing oversight for store brand products made at 35 plants, including 6 commercial baking plants and 2 frozen dough plants. Products baked at these facilities include bread, rolls and sweet goods for the bread aisle as well as for the company’s deli-bakeries.Highly active in baking industry affairs, Mr. Crowder served on marketing committees of the American Bakers Association and the Wheat Foods Council. He was co-chairman of the Grain Foods Foundation from 2004 until 2011 and also served as chairman of the G.F.F. marketing committee.