Mark Tuffin, a 32-year veteran of the grocery business, is the new senior vice president of retail divisions for The Kroger Co.

Tuffin, who has been president of Smith’s Food and Drug Stores division of Kroger since 2011, succeeds Michael Ellis, according to a company news release. Ellis is set to become Kroger’s president and chief operation officer on Jan. 1.

Before joining Smith’s Food and Drug Stores in 1996, Tuffin worked for other supermarket retailers. At Kroger, Tuffin was named vice president of transition in 2009, according to the release. In that post he led Kroger’s reorganization.

Tuffin is scheduled to relocate to Kroger’s corporate headquarters in Cincinnati in 2014. The company has more than 2,400 stores in 31 states under about two dozen banners.

As president of Salt Lake City-based Smith’s, Tuffin oversaw operations of 133 stores with 15,000 employees in seven states.