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Meet Canada's most powerful grocery and food industry execs

Who really calls the shots in corporate Canada?

Each year, Canadian Grocer's sister publication Canadian Business compiles a list of the executives, entrepreneurs, politicos, and thinkers who are changing the way Canada does business.

Read the full list of Canada's Most Powerful Business People 2016 here, or see below for a list of grocers and food manufacturing execs who made the cut.

9. Alain Bouchard, founder, Alimentation Couche-Tard
Why he matters: Conquered the world, one convenience store at a time

Alain Bouchard stepped down as President and CEO last year from the company he founded, but Couche-Tard is still growing, thanks to his blueprint for global acquisition. The Quebec-based firm now controls a network of nearly 15,000 convenience stores across North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Bouchard remains executive chairman of the board, a dominant shareholder and a trusted advisor to new CEO Brian Hannasch.
READ: The king of Couche-Tard’s next move

18. Jim Pattison, founder, The Jim Pattison Group
Why he matters: Proves age is just a number

At an age when most of his contemporaries are working on their golf swings (if they can still make it around 18 holes), Jim Pattison continues building his $8.4-billion business empire, which includes media holdings, automotive sales and grocery stores. Pattison dipped his toes in real estate development this year, building condo towers atop one of his car dealerships. Such is the strength of Pattison’s brand that Metro Vancouver’s mayors enlisted him to oversee a proposed sales tax to fund road and transit upgrades.
READ: On the road with Jimmy Pattison, “Canada’s Warren Buffett”

22. Galen G. Weston, president, Loblaw
Why he matters: Commands a growing retail empire

Last year ended on a high note for the Weston family scion, with the completion of the merger between Loblaw and Shoppers Drug Mart. This year presented its share of challenges: a $2-billion lawsuit related a 2013 factory collapse in Bangladesh; the threat of strike action from some 12,000 workers; and an investigation from the Competition Bureau. Nevertheless, under Galen G. Weston’s guidance, the company expanded internationally, announcing plans for 25 Joe Fresh stores in Asia, the Middle East, Mexico and Central America.
READ: Weston says timing was right to lead Loblaw

34. Daryl Katz, founder, Katz Group
Why he matters: Re-making downtown Edmonton

This was the year Edmonton’s long hoped-for, much-debated downtown arena development finally took shape, aiming for a puck drop at the start of the 2016–17 NHL season. The driving force behind the $1.7-billion ICE District is homegrown drugstore billionaire and Edmonton Oilers’ owner Daryl Katz. As if that weren’t enough to keep him busy, he inked a deal last spring with Hollywood producer Joel Silver, best known for the Matrix and Die Hard franchises, to create Silver Pictures Entertainment.

46. Wally Smith, president, Dairy Farmers of Canada
Why he matters: Protects big dairy’s turf

Canada’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free-trade deal has brought supply management, which imposes high import tariffs on dairy and poultry products, to the fore. Worried about foreign goods flooding the market, industry associations like Wally Smith’s Dairy Farmers of Canada pushed the government to safeguard their interests. Smith, himself a dairy farmer from B.C., has been active in Ottawa, lobbying officials and MPs involved with agriculture and trade. Little wonder that supply management will largely remain in place, and that the feds promised a $4.3-billion fund to compensate farmers who might lose out because of the TPP.

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