Galen G. Weston, executive chairman of Loblaw Companies Ltd., will step into a new executive role at his family’s company, becoming president as part of a slew of management changes announced Thursday morning by the country’s largest food retailer.
Weston will replace Vicente Trius effective immediately.
According to a company statement, Trius, who joined Loblaw as president in August, 2011, is returning to Brazil for family reasons.
Shoppers Drug Mart president Domenic Pilla will also leave before the end of this year, to lead a widely held public company, according to the Loblaws statement.
Mike Motz, Loblaw’s executive vice-president and chief merchandising officer, will take the top position at Shoppers.
Motz is an 11-year veteran of the business and worked closely with Pilla driving competitiveness at Shoppers and the popular loyalty program.
In assuming the position of president, Weston will be responsible for the execution of the company’s strategy, leadership of the management team, and its overall business performance.
Weston has been the driving force behind the recent diversification of the company, including the creation of Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust and the acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart.
“I am excited about the future, and the opportunity to execute on the strategic vision we have built for the company. 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 Mr. Weston, in the release.
“Mr. Trius (who joined Loblaw in August 2011) and Mr. Pilla (who joined Shoppers in October 2011) are highly competent executives who have made substantial contributions to their organizations. Loblaw does, however, have a deep executive talent pool,” according to Keith Howlett, an analyst at Desjardins Securities, in a note issued to investors Thursday morning.
Loblaws signalled that the next quarterly earnings, to be reported on July 24, will be positive, due in part to Trius’s work.
“When we release our second quarter results next week, you will see that Vicente and the team have delivered another solid quarter in a very competitive supermarket environment, with synergies, SAP and efficiencies on track. With the business in very good shape, Vicente felt it was the right time to leave Loblaw. I respect his decision, and on behalf of the Board and all of our colleagues in the business, I thank him for his many contributions,” said Weston in the press release.
Pilla will remain as President of Shoppers Drug Mart until the end of 2014, working closely to deliver on several important initiatives, including the transition to the new president of Shoppers Drug Mart, according to the release.
Other management changes include:
Richard Dufresne will assume the role of chief financial officer of Loblaw. His key responsibilities will include delivering the financial plan of the organization; achieving the synergies related to the Shoppers Drug Mart acquisition; and de-leveraging the balance sheet. Dufresne will retain his role as chief financial officer at George Weston Limited.
Sarah Davis, previously chief financial officer, will become chief administrative officer, responsible for supply chain, IT and Loblaw properties and strategy. Her key objective will be to deliver efficiencies across the organization, including those resulting from the implementation of new technologies.
Davis was appointed CFO in 2010 and is described by the company as having an exceptional understanding of its workings.
Grant Froese, previously chief administrative officer, becomes chief operating officer of the company.