Publix VP announces retirement after 45 years with company

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Publix’s Vice President of Customer Experience is stepping down after 45 years with the company.

The grocery chain announced the retirement of Bob Bechtel on Wednesday.

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According to a Publix news release, Bechtel started with the company in the 1970s as a front service clerk at a store in Sarasota. He worked his way up to manager in 1990 before rising up the ranks at Publix corporate.

In 2005, Bechtel received an award for supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. He has held his current role since 2019.

In his retirement, Bechtel says he and and his wife, Kathy, are looking forward to traveling, camping and spending time with their grandchildren.

“Bob has spent his career focusing on customer service,” Publix CEO Kevin Murphy said in a statement. “Through his leadership and efforts, he has helped our associates provide a premier shopping environment that has exceeded our customers’ expectations and helped create raving fans at Publix. We thank Bob for his many years of service to Publix and wish him the best in his retirement.”

Publix’s Director of Omnichannel, David Finger, will be promoted to take Bechtel’s place after he retires. He started as a front service clerk in 1993 and has held various corporate roles since 2000.

Bechtel’s retirement is the latest executive shake-up for the Lakeland-based supermarket chain. Murphy was promoted from president to CEO last November, alongside former CEO Todd Jones and Senior Vice President John Goff, who assumed the roles of executive chairman and president, respectively.

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