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PLEASANTON, Calif. -- Safeway, Inc. said late last week that Peter A. Magowan, managing general partner and president of the San Francisco Giants, and onetime chairman, president, and c.e.o. of Safeway, will retire from the company's board of directors as of March 31.
Magowan, who has been connected with Safeway for 37 years, first as an employee and later as a director, said in a statement: "As a former c.e.o. of Safeway, I have been ineligible to participate on the committees of the board of directors, where increasingly much of the substantive work is done. I'm leaving the board to further strengthen its independence. I have enjoyed my work with Safeway, and I wish the company, its employees, and stockholders a bright and prosperous future."
Magowan came to the grocer in 1968 as a real estate negotiator in Washington, D.C., and held various positions at Safeway before becoming chairman and c.e.o. in 1980. In 1986 he helped the company rebuff an unsolicited takeover attempt and guided it through a subsequent leveraged buyout. In 1993 Magowan resigned as Safeway's c.e.o. to work full-time for the San Francisco Giants.
"Peter Magowan has served this company long and well," said Steven A. Burd, present Safeway chairman, president, and c.e.o.. "He has been a significant contributor to the success of the company, an invaluable resource, and an outstanding director. On behalf of his fellow directors and the entire management team, I wish him continued success with the Giants and his other endeavors."
Last month, Safeway named Douglas Mackenzie as a board member, increasing the size of the board to 10 members. After Magowan's departure, the number of board members will revert to nine.
Magowan is the fourth board member to step down since Safeway shareholders last year began to raise questions about the independence of Magowan and several other directors with ties to New York-based private investment firm Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts Co.
Safeway operates 1,802 stores in the United States and Canada.