Empire realigns its executive team as it looks to become "best retailer in Canada"

Grocery giant promotes several executives as it embarks on new three-year growth plan, Project Altitude
Michael Medline
Michael Medline

Empire Company Ltd.– parent company to Sobeys, Farm Boy, FreshCo and other food retail banners – has made several changes to its executive team.

The changes are part of the company’s new three-year plan to become the “best retailer in Canada.” Titled Project Altitude, the plan follows the conclusion of its six-year growth strategy that began with Project Sunrise in 2017.

Julia Knox (2023 Star Women in Grocery Award winner) has been promoted to the newly created role of chief technology and analytics officer, reporting to president and CEO Michael Medline.

Mohit Grover (formerly SVP of innovation, sustainability and strategy) has been named SVP of e-commerce; Sarah Joyce is now SVP of discount; and Mike Venton is SVP of execution strategy. 

And after 24 years with Empire, Vivek Sood, EVP of related businesses (pharmacy, fuel and convenience, liquor, wholesale and Big 8) will retire in the next fiscal year.

Pierre St-Laurent, chief operating officer, will now oversee related businesses in addition to his current responsibilities.

Sandra Sanderson, formerly SVP of marketing, has been promoted to chief marketing officer, reporting to Medline. She will be responsible for all marketing functions across Empire’s banners and brands in both English Canada and Quebec.

Doug Nathanson will continue as chief development officer and general counsel, reporting to Medline. 

He will continue to oversee legal, corporate strategy and development, real estate and communications and corporate affairs. New responsibilities include strategic sourcing and sustainability. 

Simon Gagné will continue as chief human resources officer, reporting to Medline. Finally, Matt Reindel will continue as chief financial officer, also reporting to Medline.

All changes will be effective July 31.

“This group of leaders will play a pivotal role in helping us achieve our bold ambition to become the best retailer in Canada. Their extensive experience and accomplishments will undoubtedly  enrich our teams and bring fresh perspectives that will propel our growth,” Medline said in a statement. “We are embarking on this next phase of our journey with an exceptional leadership team, as  well as the talents and dedication of all 131,000 teammates across the country. I am  extremely energized and confident about the future of this great company, and I believe more  than ever that the best is yet to come.” 

Empire is also creating a newly formed operating committee (in place of the former executive committee), which will review business performance and oversee strategic priorities.

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