UPDATE 3-Canada's Rona brings in outsider as CEO; shares rise
* Home improvement chain hands helm to grocery executive
* Move is the latest step in Rona's turnaround plan
* Rona may close, remodel some of its big box stores
* Serious talks to sell its industrial division
* Stock closes up 4 pct on Toronto Stock Exchange
By Solarina Ho
March 19 (Reuters) - Rona Inc, Canada's top home-improvement retailer and distributor, has chosen a long-time supermarket chain executive as CEO, putting Robert Sawyer in charge as it fights back against growing competition from U.S. rivals.
Rona shares rose as much as 6 percent on Tuesday after it said Sawyer, former chief operating officer at Metro Inc , would replace acting Chief Executive Dominique Boies next month. Rona's longtime CEO, Robert Dutton, stepped down in November.
The Boucherville, Quebec-based company transformed itself from a modest hardware distributor to a national retailer in the 1990s. But it stumbled in recent years as U.S.-based Home Depot Inc and Lowe's Cos Inc, the world's top two home-improvement chains, expanded their presence in Canada. Continued...