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Longtime Metro Inc. staffer Robert Sawyer was recently named executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Montreal-based firm.

Mr. Sawyer, who is celebrating 30 years of service at Metro this year, most recently served as senior vice president of Metro's Ontario division, Metro Ontario Inc.

According to a company press release, "in his new position, he will be responsible for the Quebec and Ontario divisions, national procurement, corporate brands as well as information systems and marketing.

Mr. Sawyer started in produce at Metro in 1979 as its director of operations and distribution. In 1987, he was appointed vice president of the produce division. In 1997, he was promoted to senior vice president of retail and was responsible for all activities of the Metro banner.

After Metro's acquisition of A&P Canada, Mr. Sawyer led the Loeb Canada division in Ontario from January to August 2005, at which time he was named senior vice president of Metro's Quebec division.

The press release noted that "his extensive company experience and knowledge of the Quebec and Ontario markets will allow him to continue to make a significant contribution to the success of Metro."

The press release added that Johanne Choiniere, senior vice president of merchandising for Metro Ontario Inc., would succeed Mr. Sawyer as senior vice president of the Ontario division.

"Johanne has held a number of management positions within the company since joining in 1999, including vice president and general manager of Loeb, senior vice president of Super C and senior vice president of national procurement and corporate brands," the press release stated.