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Industry NewsEmpire makes leadership changes for next phase of transformation

Empire makes leadership changes for next phase of transformation


Empire Company Ltd. and its wholly-owned subsidiary Sobeys Inc., have announced leadership appointments as the company focuses on the next phases of its three-year transformation plan.

“It has been a year of solid progress in rewiring the fundamentals of our business – stabilizing margins, creating a lower-cost national structure, and setting clear strategies in areas such as ecommerce and discount,” said Michael Medline, President & CEO in a statement. “We are now sharpening our leadership focus as we rally the team for stronger growth.”

The following leaders assume new roles reporting to the CEO:

  • Lyne Castonguay has been appointed Executive Vice President, Store Experience, responsible for store operations, distribution centres across Empire’s conventional (non-Quebec) grocery banners nationally. She previously served as Executive Vice President, Merchandising at Empire where she designed and laid the foundation for the company’s national Merchandising structure, was the architect of Sobeys’ success in stabilizing margins and sales over the past year, and played a key role in creating the Ocado ecommerce partnership. She has excelled in both Canadian and international markets in top operations and merchandising roles.
  • Pierre St-Laurent has been appointed Executive Vice President, Merchandising and Quebec. This move aligns Empire’s key merchant teams. In his new role, he retains all current reporting relationships with his Quebec team. Focused on innovation, partnerships and disciplined execution, Medline says St-Laurent’s track record and reputation as a merchant are widely respected throughout the industry.
  • Luc L’Archeveque has been appointed General Manager, Quebec, and retains his accountability as VP Grocery for the Quebec business. He will coordinate the day-to-day activities between Operations, Merchandising and Marketing of the Quebec business unit and will report to St-Laurent.
  • Mike Venton has been appointed General Manager, Discount. He was hired by Rob Adams earlier this year as part of Adam’s planned succession. Medline says Venton is one of the most experienced and successful discount leaders in Canada, is a strong merchant and has been working with Adams for several months to prepare for this transition. Adams will stay on to support Venton and will shift his focus to leading the expansion of the company’s discount business, including the conversion of up to 25 per cent of Sobeys and Safeway locations in Western Canada. In his new role, Adams will leverage his experience and leadership abilities gained in launching the successful FreshCo banner in Ontario, where he built that business to 91 stores in just over eight years.
  • Sarah Joyce has been appointed Senior Vice President, Ecommerce and will have end-to-end accountability for Sobeys’ ecommerce strategy and will be responsible for the company’s ecommerce offer through its innovative Ocado partnership. She comes to Sobeys from HBC where she built and was General Manager of and, accountable for strategy and all aspects of day-to-day operations.

Jason Potter, who served as Executive Vice President, Operations, is leaving Sobeys after a 26 year career with the company.  The also announced that Deirdre Horgan, Senior Vice President, Marketing, will not be returning to her role at Sobeys due to her ongoing recovery from serious illness and the need to focus on her health and family. Lyne Castonguay will continue to lead the Marketing team on an interim basis until a new head of the function is confirmed. 

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