John Hackett, Mid-South division president for the Kroger Co., is retiring after a 50-year career with the grocery retailer.

Hackett served in his current position for 23 years, according to a news release from Cincinnati-based Kroger. During his tenure, the Mid-South division grew from 55 stores to 161 stores and increased sales more than 10-fold. His last day is scheduled to be June 29.

Hackett started his career with Kroger in 1963 as a store clerk in London, Ohio, while working his way to a college degree from Ohio State University, according to the release.

After graduation he entered the retailer’s management training program and worked in a variety of marketing and operations jobs until 1984 when he was promoted to director of merchandising of the Louisville, Ky., division. In 1990 he was promoted to division president and oversaw the merger of the Nashville and Louisville divisions.

Also during his career he led an associate safety initiative that reduced accidents by 70% and became a model for the entire Kroger organization, according to the release. While Hackett was leading the Mid-South division, it pioneered self-checkouts, opened the company’s first Kroger fuel station and the Little Clinic.