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Weston to step back from day-to-day operations at Loblaw as company announces new CEO

Danish grocery executive tapped to takeover one of Canada's largest retailers
The Loblaws flagship location on Carlton Street in Toronto is shown on Thursday May 2, 2013. Loblaw Companies Ltd. is hiring European retail executive Per Bank as its next president and chief executive.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

Galen Weston is stepping aside from day-to-day operations of Loblaw Companies Ltd. in a senior leadership shuffle that will see a European retail executive take over as president and CEO.

Canada's largest grocer and drugstore chain said Tuesday the chief executive of Denmark’s leading grocery retailer Salling Group A/S, Per Bank, will join the company in early 2024.

In 2012, Bank became the fourth CEO of the more than century-old Salling Group, which operates department stores, supermarkets and discount stores. Under his tenure, the company has grown its market share by more than 20 per cent, Loblaw said. 

The hiring will see Weston step down from the president role, which he took on in 2021 when Sarah Davis retired from the job. He will remain chairman of Loblaw and chairman and CEO of holding company George Weston Ltd.

"I'm not leaving. I'm stepping back into what I consider to be my natural role as the controlling shareholder," Weston said during a call with analysts. 

"The takeaway here is this is not a sharp left turn," he said. "This is about evolution and building on the platform that's been established."

Meanwhile, Loblaw chief operating officer Robert Sawyer — who came out of retirement to take on the role in 2021 — plans to retire at the end of the year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 18, 2023.

Companies in this story: (TSX:L, TSX:WN)

The Canadian Press

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