Loblaw executive chairman Weston takes on president's role

Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:58am EDT
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By Shubhankar Chakravorty

(Reuters) - Loblaw Cos Ltd (L.TO: Quote), Canada's largest grocer, appointed Executive Chairman Galen Weston president as part of a management shakeup aimed at helping the company better compete with U.S. rivals.

Weston, son of the founder of George Weston Ltd — Loblaw's largest shareholder — will be responsible for the company's overall business performance as president, the company said.

Weston replaces Vicente Trius with immediate effect. Trius is leaving the company for family reasons.

Loblaw has been struggling with higher fuel costs, a weak Canadian dollar and an increase in minimum wages in Ontario, while trying to fend off competition from Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote) and Target Corp (TGT.N: Quote).

The company, which completed the acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart [SDMC.UL] earlier this year, also said Domenic Pilla, the president of its pharmacy chain, would leave by the end of the year.

Mike Motz, Loblaw's current chief merchandising officer and executive vice president, will replace Pilla.

"Our two businesses (Loblaw, Shoppers Drug Mart) 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," Weston said in a statement.

The company will consolidate the results of Shoppers Drug Mart for the first time when it reports second-quarter results next week.   Continued...

Executive chairman of Loblaw Companies Limited Galen G. Weston speaks at a news conference in Toronto, July 15, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch