By Sruthi Ramakrishnan
(Reuters) - Discount retailer Dollar General Stores Inc (DG.N) said Chief Operating Officer Todd Vasos would replace Rick Dreiling as chief executive, effective June 3.
Dreiling, 61, will remain senior adviser and chairman until his retirement on Jan. 29, the company said on Thursday.
Vasos was widely expected to be named the company's CEO and his candidature was supported by investors, Stifel, Nicolaus & Co analysts wrote in a note.
Dreiling, who joined Dollar General as CEO in January 2008, has been credited with making the company the top U.S. deep-discount retailer.
He spearheaded Dollar General's return to the public market in 2009, after KKR & Co [KOHLB.UL] took the company private in 2007 for $7.2 billion.
"Vasos certainly has big shoes to fill... we have confidence in his selection and expect the transition will be smooth," Stifel analysts said.
Dreiling announced his retirement in June last year, soon after a proposal by activist investor Carl Icahn to merge the company with Family Dollar Stores Inc (FDO.N).
Dollar General later made a bid for Family Dollar, which had already agreed to be bought by smaller rival Dollar Tree Inc (DLTR.O), sparking off a months-long tussle for the No.2 U.S. discount retailer.
Family Dollar's shareholders voted in favor of Dollar Tree's $8.5 billion offer in January, rejecting Dollar General's $9.1 billion bid.
The combined entity will overtake Dollar General as the largest discount retailer in the United States.
Vasos, 53, joined Dollar General in December 2008 as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. He was promoted to chief operating officer in November 2013.
Before Dollar General, Vasos was with retail drugstore chain Longs Drug Stores Corp, where Dreiling has also worked earlier.
Dollar General's shares were little changed at $73.19 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Editing by Kirti Pandey)