MONTREAL — François Coutu will retire as president of the Jean Coutu Group on May 31, parent company Metro Inc. announced Wednesday. He will be succeeded by Alain Champagne, a former president of McKesson Canada.
François Coutu had two stints as president and chief executive officer of the group, from 2002 to 2005, and again starting in 2007, 11 years before the company was purchased by Metro. The 64-year-old Coutu is the younger son of chain founder Jean Coutu.
“Having devoted most of my professional life to the Jean Coutu Group and seeing how the combination with Metro is now well on track to ensure its sustainability over time, I have decided to retire knowing that I’m leaving in place a great brand, a strong business model and an excellent team,” said Coutu.
Eric La Flèche, president and CEO of Metro, said, “I would like to congratulate François for his very significant contribution to the success of the Jean Coutu Group since 1983 and I am pleased to be able to continue to work with him as a member of our board of directors.” Coutu will remain a pharmacist owner in the group, with three pharmacies under the Jean Coutu banner.
With nearly 30 years of experience in major international companies, Champagne will be responsible for completing the combination of the Coutu group with Metro while ensuring the development of the latter’s pharmacy division. Most recently the CEO of Optimé International. Champagne was president of McKesson Canada from 2014 to 2016. He earlier served as McKesson Canada’s senior vice president of pharmaceutical distribution and operations. Before that, he held various executive roles with Frito Lay Canada and Procter & Gamble Co.
“We are confident that Alain will be very successful as the leader of our pharmacy division given his extensive experience in the pharmacy and retail sectors as well as his proven ability to deliver results,” said. La Flèche.
Said Champagne, “I am delighted to join Metro to lead its pharmacy division. I look forward to contributing to the division’s growth trajectory by leveraging its strong brands, PJC and Brunet, its committed pharmacist-owners and the best team in the industry,”
Coutu and Champagne will work together until Coutu’s retirement to ensure a smooth transition.