Loblaw Names Galen G. Weston President

The board of directors of Brampton, Ontario-based Loblaw Cos. Ltd. has appointed Executive Chairman Galen G. Weston to the additional position of president, effective immediately. Lead independent director Thomas O’Neill said the appointment was part of a series of management changes at the company.

As executive chairman, Weston sets the company's strategic direction and leads the board. In his additional role, he takes on responsibility for the execution of the company's strategy, in addition to leadership of the management team and its overall business performance.

"I am confident that Loblaw will continue to advance its business both financially and operationally and be well positioned to create long-term sustainable value," said Weston, who brings an extensive background in Canadian retail to his new position. His past accomplishments include transforming Loblaw into a diversified portfolio of complementary businesses, including the creation of Choice Properties and the acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart.

Loblaw also made the following additional management changes

  • Vicente Trius, president since August 2011, has left the business to return to Brazil for family reasons. 
  • Domenic Pilla, president of Shoppers Drug Mart, is leaving by the end of 2014 to pursue opportunities to lead a widely held public company. 

Along with fulfilling his usual duties through the end of the year, Pilla will work closely with Weston "to deliver on several important initiatives, including the transition to a new president of Shoppers Drug Mart," noted the latter.

New Management Structure

As part of the new management structure to support Loblaw’s evolving business, Weston has appointed seasoned operational leaders to the following key roles:

  • Richard Dufresne has become CFO of Loblaw, in addition to his role as CFO at George Weston Ltd., Loblaw's largest shareholder.
  • Sarah Davis, previously CFO, is now chief administrative officer, responsible for supply chain, IT (including SAP implementation), goods not for resale, Loblaw properties and strategy.
  • Grant Froese, previously chief administrative officer, is now COO, responsible for the operating performance of the market, discount and emerging business grocery operations, as well as the division support functions of control brands, e-commerce, and off-shore procurement.
  • Mike Motz, previously EVP and chief merchandising officer, will become the president of Shoppers Drug Mart after Pilla's departure, in which he'll be responsible for delivering the strategic and operational plan for the chain.

According to Weston, the appointments position the company "to leverage the potential of the new retail organization and drive financial performance."

Solid Q4 2014 Financials

Weston was similarly optimistic regarding Loblaw's financial and operational performance for the second quarter of 2014. "Against the backdrop of an extremely competitive supermarket environment and the deflationary pressure of regulatory drug reform, our business continues to perform well, with strong same-store sales growth in our supermarket and pharmacy businesses," he said. "We expect to continue to successfully execute on our strategy in the second half of the year, as well as make material progress on our synergy targets."

Added Weston: "Since we announced the deal to acquire Shoppers Drug Mart over a year ago, we have made tremendous progress in realizing key deliverables that underpinned the transaction. Our two businesses are working well together, and we are on track to deliver the first $100 million in synergies by the end of the first quarter of 2015."

With more than 2,300 corporate, franchised and associate-owned locations, Loblaw and its franchisees and associate-owners employ about 192,000 employees, making it one of Canada's largest private-sector employers.


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