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Loblaw Cos. names Galen G. Weston president

The board of directors of Loblaw Cos. Ltd. announced that Galen G. Weston, executive chairman, has been appointed as president, effective immediately. Thomas O'Neill, lead independent director, confirmed the appointment as part of a series of management changes at the company.

As executive chairman, Weston is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the company and in leading the board. In assuming the position of president, Weston will also be responsible for the execution of the company's strategy, leadership of the management team and its overall business performance.

Weston has an extensive background in Canadian retail, and an intimate knowledge of the business and its talent. He has been the strategic architect of reshaping the grocery business, as well as transforming Loblaw into a diversified portfolio of complementary businesses, including the creation of Choice Properties and the acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart.

"I am excited about the future, and the opportunity to execute on the strategic vision we have built for the company," Weston said in a press release. "I am confident that Loblaw will continue to advance its business both financially and operationally and be well positioned to create long-term sustainable value."

The company also announced the following additional management changes

Vicente Trius, president since August 2011, will be leaving the business for family reasons to return to Brazil. In commenting on Trius's departure, Weston said, "Vicente has made an enormous impact on virtually every aspect of our business in the time that he has been with the company. Our businesses are stronger, our customer proposition more compelling, and our operating effectiveness much improved. He has set a strong foundation for the future.

"When we release our second quarter results next week," continued Weston, "You will see that Vicente and the team have delivered another solid quarter in a very competitive supermarket environment, with synergies, SAP and efficiencies on track. With the business in very good shape, Vicente felt it was the right time to leave Loblaw. I respect his decision, and on behalf of the Board and all of our colleagues in the business, I thank him for his many contributions."

As part of the new management structure to support the company's evolving business, Weston appointed seasoned operational leaders to assume the following key roles:

Additionally, Richard Dufresne will assume the role of chief financial officer of Loblaw, and he will retain his role as CFO at George Weston; Sarah Davis, previously CFO, will become chief administrative officer; Grant Froese, previously chief administrative officer, becomes chief operating officer of the company; and Mike Motz, currently executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, will become the president of Shoppers Drug Mart. The rest of the broader management team remain unchanged.

"I am very confident in the exceptionally talented team at Loblaw," said Weston. "This positions us well to leverage the potential of the new retail organization and drive financial performance."