Loblaw president Sarah Davis to retire on May 6

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BRAMPTON, ON — Loblaw president Sarah Davis will retire from her post on May 6, the company said on Tuesday. She will be succeeded by executive chairman, Galen Weston, who will become chairman and president in addition to his current role as chairman and CEO at Loblaw parent company George Weston Limited (GWL).

Sarah Davis

Sarah Davis

Weston previously held the positions of chairman and president from 2014 to 2017.

The companies also announced that Robert Sawyer will join Loblaw as chief operating officer and that Richard Dufresne, president and chief financial officer of GWL, will expand his responsibilities to include becoming CFO of Loblaw.

The announcement came as GWL announced that it plans to sell its Weston Foods unit, which manufactures baked goods.

“In light of George Weston’s strategic decision to focus on retail and real estate which was announced today, Sarah and I agreed that now is the right time for her to pursue her plans for an early retirement, which she first shared with me upon becoming President in 2017,” Weston said. “Sarah has made an invaluable contribution to the company and I appreciate her leadership over the last 14 years. Her authentic, understated style, and commitment to the potential of others, have been hallmarks of her time with Loblaw. She has been an advisor and friend to many, especially to me. We wish her well.”

Davis has been with Loblaw in positions of increasing responsibility since 2007, including both CFO and CAO, during which time she played a crucial role in transforming the company from a regionally managed grocer into an omnichannel food, health, and wellness retailer with $52.7 billion in revenue. As president, Sarah led the company to reduce costs by over $1 billion through productivity improvements. She expanded the company’s efforts in in data and analytics, including the creation of the PC Optimum loyalty program.

“After 14 years at Loblaw, I am immensely proud of what the company has accomplished during my time here and look forward to the next chapter,” Davis said.

Weston said that the sale of Weston Foods “will allow me to dedicate renewed time and energy at Loblaw as we increase our momentum in both our bricks-and-mortar network, and our leadership in digital and data.”

As chief operating officer at Loblaw, Sawyer will have responsibility for the company’s retail divisions, supply chain, and procurement.

“I am delighted that Robert has made the decision to join the team at Loblaw,” Weston said. “He brings a keen understanding of our business and an extensive track record of success. I look forward to Robert’s contributions including his commitment to developing the next generation of talent in the organization.”

Sawyer has spent over 40 years as a Canadian retail executive, including an extensive career at Metro where he was COO, as well as a highly successful tenure as president and chief executive officer of Rona. He has served as a director on GWL’s board since 2016.

“Loblaw is Canada’s leading retailer with some of the most exciting assets in the industry, including its loyalty and private label programs,” Sawyer said. “I am very much looking forward to joining the team.”

On Dufresne’s expansion of his responsibilities to include being CFO of Loblaw, Weston said: “Richard is an exceptional executive with extensive experience as a CFO. With George Weston’s decision to divest the bakery business, he now has the capacity to return to the dual CFO role which he held between 2014 and 2017. I look forward to working with Richard as we accelerate Loblaw’s momentum in its core business and strategic growth areas while increasing speed and agility in both organizations.”

As part of this transition, Darren Myers will be leaving Loblaw after its annual general meeting on May 6.

“During his tenure, Darren has been a financial steward of the organization, actively worked to improve capital discipline across the company, and contributed to Loblaw’s enormous progress against its process and efficiency agenda,” Weston said. “He is a key member of the management board and his collaborative leadership style drove improvements to the finance function and the company’s management system. I would like to thank Darren for his contributions to the company as CFO over the last three and a half years and to express appreciation for his support over the coming weeks.”




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