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    Safeway Takes 'Important Step' With Central Marketing Organization

    PLEASANTON, Calif. - Safeway, Inc. has begun separating the nonperishables side of its marketing function into five distinct business groups, in a move designed to further strengthen its centralized marketing organization while retaining retail division flexibility.

    PLEASANTON, Calif. - Safeway, Inc. has begun separating the nonperishables side of its marketing function into five distinct business groups, in a move designed to further strengthen its centralized marketing organization while retaining retail division flexibility. Consequently the company has realigned several key management positions, including tapping former Northern California division president Frank Calfas to serve as president of marketing operations.

    In his new role Calfas will oversee not only nonperishables marketing, but also marketing for the perishables function, which Safeway reorganized earlier this year.

    "These are important changes that will make our marketing units and general management structure even more responsive to the needs of our customers and retail stores, and help drive identical store sales growth," said Brian Cornell, Safeway's e.v.p. and c.m.o. "The new organization will create a structure that will maximize the leverage of a centralized marketing unit, while keeping a healthy level of retail division flexibility and respecting regional differences in customer tastes and preferences."

    Each of the nonperishable business groups will have full financial accountability for sales, profit, promotion, and product strategy, Safeway said. The newly appointed s.v.p.'s and business group general managers for the five functional groups are as follows: Jim Lewis -- Meals and Dry Grocery; Henry Michon -- Dairy, Refrigerated, and Frozen Foods; David Lee -- Beverages, Alcohol, Snacks, and Tobacco; David Fong -- Health and Wellness (Pharmacy and HBC); and Bob Shelton -- Home Care and General Merchandise.

    Calfas and his team will serve as a planning and coordination link between the centralized marketing organization and retail, and will oversee all of the company's supply chain, category management, marketing and merchandising planning, strategic pricing, and business process management. Calfas will report directly to Cornell.

    Safeway said it has selected Karl Schroeder, most recently president of the company's Eastern Division, to succeed Calfas as president of its Northern California Division. The move nearly doubles the store count that Schroeder will oversee.

    Schroeder joined Safeway 28 years ago in the company's Phoenix Division. After managing several stores in Arizona, he was promoted to district manager, and the same position later in Northern California and Hawaii. He was named v.p., retail operations for Safeway's Northern California Division in 1996. He joined the corporate retail operations team as v.p. in 2001 and was promoted to s.v.p. in 2002. Schroeder was named president of the Eastern Division in 2002.

    "Karl's strong record for consistently delivering solid results will serve him well in his new capacity in Northern California," said Steve Burd, Safeway's chairman, president, and c.e.o. "His previous experience in Northern California makes him a perfect fit for the job."

    Hank Cominiello, v.p., retail operations in the Eastern Division, will serve as acting Eastern Division president until a permanent replacement is named.

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