April 19, 2023

Loblaw names Danish grocery veteran its first CEO

Loblaw Cos. Ltd., Canada’s largest food and drug chain, has named a Danish grocery veteran as its first CEO.

Per Bank will join the company by the first quarter of 2024, taking over operations after the retirement of Robert Sawyer, chief operating officer, at the end of this year.

Loblaw CEO Per Bank, depicted in a dark suit jacket and tie with a light blue shirt
Per Bank has been named Loblaw’s first CEO. Photo: Loblaw Cos. Ltd.

Bank’s appointment is the culmination of a global talent search initiated in August 2022 in anticipation of Sawyer’s retirement, according to a news release.

Galen Weston will step aside as Loblaw president but remain chair of its board as well as board chair and CEO of parent company George Weston Ltd.

“Over the past two years, we have strengthened the foundations of the company. Our management team is exceptional, and our 220,000 colleagues continue to deliver for our customers every day,” Weston said in the release. “In Per, we have found a world-class retail executive to help us build from that position of leadership and strength, and to continue on that journey.”

Bank is a 30-year career retailer with expertise in retail operations and supply chain. He most recently served of Salling Group A/S, the largest retailer in Denmark with 1,700 supermarkets across three countries.

Richard Dufresne will continue as Loblaw’s chief financial officer and president as well as CFO of George Weston Ltd.

“Robert, Richard and I have worked side by side with our management teams to improve Loblaw’s performance. Per is an exceptional executive with a decades-long track record of delivering retail excellence and successful growth —enabling a smooth transition for our teams,” Weston said. “Coming from Salling, he arrives with a clear understanding of what it means to lead a nation’s largest retail network and team, and a family company established more than a century ago to help Canadians live life well.”

Earlier this week, Loblaw announced a logistics and environmental milestone with the rollout of its first heavy-duty fully electric transport truck. A battery-electric Freightliner eCascadia manufactured by Daimler Truck North America is the first series production eCascadia provided to a Canadian customer and one of five Loblaw expects to put into service in the months ahead, the company said.

In 2017, Loblaw pledged to decarbonize its fleet of more than 160 day-cab trucks by 2023.

The electric truck is making daily runs between Loblaw’s distribution center in Boucherville, Quebec, and Loblaw stores in the greater Montreal area. The truck gets up to 370 kilometers (230 miles) per charge while hauling up to 82,000 pounds of gradually diminishing gross weight.

“It’s no secret that vehicle decarbonization is central to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and we want to lead in the adoption of this new technology,” Brian Springer, vice president of National Transport Operations, said in a release. “For nearly two years, we’ve piloted different vehicles across various parts of our business, and we’re excited to roll-out a solution that works.”

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