Stellarton, NS – Empire Company Limited (“Empire” or the “Company”), together with its wholly-owned subsidiary Sobeys Inc., announced changes to its Executive Committee as the Company enters the final phase of its Sunrise transformation initiative and sets its sights on stronger execution, innovation and growth.
“The heavy lifting of Project Sunrise is almost done and I couldn’t be happier with the exceptional progress the team continues to make. This is a significantly improved Company from that of even a year ago,” said Michael Medline, President and CEO. “The time is right to set our sights on the next phase of growth, with leaders who will integrate and unify our efforts further, enhance execution and accelerate innovation for the long-term — all with the aim of thrilling our customers.”
Effective immediately, Pierre St-Laurent is appointed to the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer (COO), Full Service. Mr. St-Laurent assumes responsibility for merchandising, retail operations, and supply chain across the Company’s full service and community banners, including Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Thrifty Foods and Foodland. This new role tightly aligns merchant teams with retail operations so that the Company speaks even more clearly with one, national voice to customers and supplier partners. Mr. St-Laurent has been the exceptionally effective, results-oriented leader of the Company’s Quebec business, the National Chief Merchant for the past year and a driving force behind the Company’s category resets.
Empire is also expanding the role of Michael Vels, Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Building on the significant progress that Mr. Vels has overseen in aligning the broad enterprise efforts to the Company’s priorities, Empire’s Information Technology team will now report to the CFO. Mr. Vels has deep prior experience in technology, digital implementation and transformation, with a proven track record in driving improved business performance from information systems. Together with Real Estate, Indirect Sourcing, and the Enterprise Project Management Office that currently report to Mr. Vels, Information Technology will be focused on powering the next phase of growth and digital innovation for the Company.
A new Chief Information Officer, for whom a search is underway, will drive the simplification and harmonization of technology tools that support an agile, innovative company. The successful candidate will report to Mr. Vels and join the Company’s Executive Committee. As previously announced, Empire’s former head of Technology and Transformation Management, Clinton Keay, became CFO of Crombie REIT on May 15.
In addition to the preceding changes in the roles of leaders reporting to Mr. Medline, Empire announced that Luc L’Archeveque, Senior Vice President, Merchandising and General Manager, Quebec, and Lorne MacLean, Senior Vice President, Retail Operations, both of whom now report to Pierre St-Laurent, join the Executive Committee effective immediately.
As the Company looks forward, it is elevating and bringing greater focus to innovation at the executive level. To that end, a search is underway for a Head of Innovation, who will report directly to the President and CEO and will also join the Executive Committee. While innovation is an integral accountability of all leaders at Empire, this role and function is designed to bring a laser-like focus to solutions with the greatest potential to drive growth, and accelerate those initiatives to fruition with optimal velocity. Working directly with Mr. Medline and across the Executive Committee, the Head of Innovation will assist business leaders in identifying, prioritizing, testing and rapidly assessing potential innovation initiatives and solutions.
As part of a planned transition, Lyne Castonguay, EVP Store Experience, will leave Empire as she continues to pursue her career aspirations. The Company thanks Ms. Castonguay for her tireless efforts and many accomplishments at Empire over the past three years. Her passion for the customer has been the cornerstone of her career and she has made an extraordinary difference at Empire. Ms. Castonguay will assist Mr. Medline in the short-term to support a smooth transition.
With these leadership announcements, Empire is further solidifying a truly national team, strengthening and streamlining ties between key functions, and building Empire’s ability to innovate for the long-term.
Empire Company Limited (TSX: EMP.A) is a Canadian company headquartered in Stellarton, Nova Scotia. Empire’s key businesses are food retailing and related real estate. With approximately $24.8 billion in annualized sales and $9.3 billion in assets, Empire and its subsidiaries, franchisees and affiliates employ approximately 125,000 people. Additional financial information relating to Empire, including the Company’s Annual Information Form, can be found on the Company’s website at www.empireco.ca or on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
Proudly Canadian, with headquarters in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, Sobeys has been serving the food shopping needs of Canadians since 1907. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Empire Company Limited (TSX: EMP.A), Sobeys owns or franchises approximately 1,500 stores in all 10 provinces under retail banners that include Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, Farm Boy and Lawton’s Drug Stores as well as more than 350 retail fuel locations. Sobeys, its franchisees and affiliates employ more than 125,000 people. More information on Sobeys Inc. can be found at www.sobeyscorporate.com.