Katie Penny named Food City Executive V-P of Operations

Published 11:03 am Thursday, January 11, 2024

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Food City recently named Katie Penny to the role of executive vice president of operations for their Knoxville division. A third-generation grocer, Penny brings a lifetime of knowledge and experience to this key role.
“Since joining our company, Katie has excelled in her leadership abilities and shown tremendous growth, having completed our management training program, and served as both a store manager and district manager. She also brings a special focus to our food service operation with seven years of experience in the hospitality industry,” says Steven C. Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer. “Having known Katie all of her life, I know first-hand how passionate she is about our company, her fellow teammates, her customers, and the communities we serve. I’m confident she will do an outstanding job leading our Knoxville division team.”
Penny originally joined the Food City team in 2006, working part time as a fuel pricing assistant while in high school. She returned to the company full time in 2020, serving as human relations coordinator manager. The first person to serve in the newly created position, Penny developed the role through her engagement with the company’s team of in-store human relations coordinators. She later completed the company’s manager training program and was promoted to store manager for the Signal Mountain Food City in Chattanooga, Tenn. In 2022, Penny advanced to her most recent position as district manager, responsible for the oversite of 13 Food City and Fresh ‘n Low stores in the Chattanooga division. She also served on the company’s in-store design committee, is a founding member of Food City’s EMPOWER program, and is a member of the company’s Senior Staff executive leadership team. Prior to joining the company, Penny spent seven years in management in the hospitality industry.
“The Knoxville market area has played a key role in Food City’s success for over 30 years, and I am elated to serve alongside our team of over 6,000 devoted associates who have helped make that happen! Our associates know that shoppers are more than customers — they are our friends and neighbors. We look forward to continuing to support our community by being a great place to work, to shop, and by cultivating relationships with the organizations that make our region such a special place to live.”
Penny currently serves on the board of directors for the Salvation Army of Greater Chattanooga, Tenn., and Northside Neighborhood House in Chattanooga. She is also involved with a number of other civic organizations, including the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, Preserve Chattanooga, Wreaths Across Chattanooga, and Friends of the Festival. Penny is the recipient of a number of professional and civic awards, including The Salvation Army Outstanding Corporate Philanthropy Award and Progressive Grocer’s 2023 Top Women in Grocery-Rising Star.
Penny graduated from James Madison University in 2012 with a BBA, with a focus on hospitality and tourism management. She received her MBA from the University of Miami in 2019 and completed the NGA Cornell Executive Leadership Development Program in 2021. Penny currently resides in Chattanooga with her husband, Tres. They are the proud parents of one daughter, Calle Reece Penny, and two Great Danes, Levi and Strauss.
Penny replaces Ron Tacker, who recently announced plans to retire from the company. Food City would like to thank Tacker for his dedicated service and outstanding commitment to the company, their customers, and associates and wish him and his lovely wife Debbie all the best in this new chapter of their lives. In her new role, Penny will be responsible for the oversite of Food City’s Knoxville division operations, which currently includes 51 retail locations.

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