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Safeway appoints CEO to replace Burd

Robert Edwards, nine-year veteran of the chain, takes over in mid-May

Safeway Inc. is getting a new CEO. Robert L. Edwards was appointed to the post yesterday.

He takes over May 14 when longtime CEO Steven Burd retires.

Edwards, 57, had been Safeway’s president since 2012. He joined the Pleasanton-Calif.-based company in 2004 as executive vice-president and chief financial officer.

As president, Edwards was responsible for all of Safeway’s retail operations, marketing, merchandising, corporate brands, finance, manufacturing and distribution.

Before joining Safeway, Edwards was a senior executive at several companies, including Maxtor Corporation, Imation Corporation and Santa Fe Pacific Corporation.

"Since he arrived here in 2004, Robert has successfully met every challenge he has faced," said Burd said in a release. "He has demonstrated the ability to lead the company in all facets of its operations, and has earned the respect of the entire organization."

Burd, who spent some two decades at Safeway, announced his retirement in January.

At the time, rumours were swirling Safeway was about to sell its Canadian division. No such sale has taken place.

In addition to being CEO, Burd was also chairman of the grocery chain.

Yesterday, Safeway announced that Gary Rogers, the company’s lead independent director, would take over as non-executive chairman when Burd retires.

Safeway operates 1,638 stores in the United Sates and Western Canada and had annual sales of US$44.2 billion last year.

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