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TORONTO -- Loblaw Cos., Ltd. said yesterday that it has made a number of changes to the supermarket retailer's leadership structure, effective immediately, including the appointment of Mark Foote to the position of president and chief merchandising officer.
Foote is responsible for all food and general merchandise sourcing, procurement, merchandising, information systems, and supply chain activities. He replaces John Lederer, who has left the post of president by mutual consent, and resigned as a director, the company said.
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Press reports indicated that Lederer's departure was precipitated by a problematic restructuring program at the financially troubled company, which is girding to do battle with Wal-Mart, a newcomer on the Canadian grocery scene.
In additional changes, Loblaw said that Galen G. Weston would succeed his father, W. Galen Weston, as executive chairman, and that Allan Leighton was joining the board as deputy chairman. A longtime adviser to the Westons, Leighton has additionally been named deputy chairman of George Weston, Ltd., the company's parent corporation.
Galen G. Weston's most recent post was s.v.p., corporate development of Loblaw, in which capacity he was responsible for the continuing strategic review of the company's businesses. Earlier he served at the retailer in a broad range of senior management positions, among them operations, President's Choice Financial, and e-commerce. He was also a board member of George Weston Ltd.
Foote came to Loblaw in April 2006 as e.v.p. handling all procurement and merchandising activities in the general merchandise business. He spent the previous 27 years in increasingly senior roles at a major Canadian retailer, serving since 2001 as the president of that company's core retail operation.
Leighton, the chairman of the Royal Mail Group in the United Kingdom, has also served as president and c.e.o. of Wal-Mart Europe and chief executive of the Asda Stores, Ltd. chain of superstores, among other positions. He is also deputy chairman of George Weston, Ltd.
Loblaw is Canada's biggest food distributor, as well as a top provider of general merchandise, drugstore, and financial products and services.