Chief Financial Officer
Paul Thompson is the Chief Financial Officer of KinderCare Education (KCE). KCE is the nation’s leading private provider of high-quality early childhood education and school-age programs, serving more than 185,000 children from six weeks to 12 years old at more than 2,300 locations nationwide. KCE is the parent company of the KinderCare, KinderCare at Work, and Champions brands. As CFO, Paul leads the finance, information systems and procurement functions. He is responsible for multiple functions across the company, including financial planning and analysis (FP&A), the controller’s organization, internal audit, tax and risk, procurement, IT, real estate, portfolio management and facilities.
Before joining KCE, Paul worked for 10 years at Safeway, a $36 billion retailer with more than 1,300 stores across the U.S. While there he managed a team of 280 people as the Senior Vice President, Finance, Pricing and Enterprise Systems. Paul was recruited to join Safeway in 2005 as the VP of Finance for the $8 billion corporate brands business, where he was responsible for driving a turnaround with a nearly six percent increase in sales after a five-year decline. Over the next eight years, Paul held a variety of roles of increasing responsibility at Safeway, including Group VP, Financial Planning and Analysis, and SVP, Finance, Pricing and Enterprise Systems – where his role in overseeing Safeway’s major strategic and profit improvement initiatives resulted in some of the company’s strongest profit performance since 2006. He also sat on Safeway’s Real Estate Committee, where he was responsible for evaluating capital requirements and opening new stores, and he was a key leader in the merger of Safeway and Albertson’s.
Prior to joining Safeway, Paul worked at Pillsbury for 13 years, beginning his career there as a Senior Auditor. Paul went on to hold several roles with Pillsbury, including Plant Controller, Planning and Analysis Manager and, in 1997, Finance Manager for Häagen-Dazs. In this role and in his next role as Senior Manager of Sales Finance, Paul led a variety of financial planning and analysis activities. He completed new product profitability, SKU optimization and sales utilization analysis, the latter of which resulted in a 37 percent increase in profitability for the business.
In the fall of 1999, Pillsbury created a joint venture with Nestle, combining their ice-cream brands and creating a $700 million business. Paul was selected to lead Sales & Distribution Finance. In 2002, Nestle announced its intention to merge with Dreyer's. Once the merger completed in 2003, Paul worked on integration activities, delivering $7 million in savings in marketing services, before moving on to a more business partner-oriented role, working directly with the business to drive pricing guidelines and develop new product launches.
Paul earned his Bachelor of Arts from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. He also earned his Certified Public Accountant credentials while he lived in Minnesota.
Paul is married and has a son and a daughter.