Loblaw Companies Announces Leadership Changes
BRAMPTON, ONTARIO, CANADA - A transition is underway at Loblaw Companies Limited as the company has revealed a new leadership shakeup. The company, along with George Weston Limited (GWL), jointly announced the upcoming retirement of Loblaw President Sarah Davis on May 6. Davis will be succeeded by Executive Chairman Galen G. Weston, current Chairman and CEO of GWL. Additionally, the companies announced that Robert Sawyer will join Loblaw as Chief Operating Officer, and Richard Dufresne, President and Chief Financial Officer of GWL, will expand his duties to include becoming CFO of Loblaw effective May 6.
“The sale of Weston Foods will allow me to dedicate renewed time and energy at Loblaw as we increase our momentum in both our brick-and-mortar network, and our leadership in digital and data,” said Weston.
In succeeding Davis in her role, Weston will be returning to his former position of Chairman and President which he previously held from 2014 to 2017, according to a press release.
Sawyer will be joining Weston in stepping into a new role after being appointed Loblaw’s Chief Operating Officer. In his new position, Sawyer will be responsible for the company’s retail divisions, supply chain, and procurement.
“Loblaw is Canada’s leading retailer with some of the most exciting assets in the industry, including its loyalty and private label programs,” said Sawyer. “I am very much looking forward to joining the team.”
Sawyer brings to the company over 40 years of experience as an executive in the Canadian retail market. He has formerly served as COO of Metro and had a successful career as President and Chief Executive Officer at Rona. Sawyer currently serves as Director of the Board of GWL, a role he has held since 2016.
Weston also commented on Sawyer’s recent appointment.
“I am delighted that Robert has made the decision to join the team at Loblaw. He brings a keen understanding of our business and an extensive track record of success,” he explained. “I look forward to Robert’s contributions, including his commitment to developing the next generation of talent in the organization.”
Taking over the role of Chief Financial Officer, Dufresne will join Loblaw in addition to his current position as President and Chief Financial Officer at George Weston Limited.
“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,” commented Weston. “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."
These transitions come as Davis has announced her retirement from the company, for which she has worked since 2007.
“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,” stated Davis in regards to her retirement.
Over the course of her career with Loblaw, Davis has worked in several leadership positions including CFO and CAO, during which time she played a vital role in transforming the company from a regional grocer to an omni-channel food, health, and wellness retailer with $52.7 billion in revenue.
As President, Davis led the company to reduce costs by over $1 billion through productivity improvements, the release noted. She also established leadership in data and analytics, including the creation of the loyalty program, PC Optimum.
During her tenure, Davis championed an approach to leadership and culture that put colleagues and customers first in pursuit of helping Canadians live life well.
“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,” said Weston. “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.”
In addition to Davis’ departure, Darren Myers will also be leaving Loblaw after its Annual General Meeting on May 6. He will be stepping out of his position as Loblaw’s Chief Financial Officer.
“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,” commented Weston. “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.”
Cheers to all of these leaders as they begin their new journeys!