Domenic Pilla, who joined Shoppers Drug Mart as president and chief executive officer in November 2011 from McKesson Canada, plans to leave the company by the end of the year, Loblaw said Thursday. He will be replaced as Shoppers Drug Mart president by Mike Motz, currently executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at the drug chain. Motz will take the reins as Shoppers Drug Mart president upon Pilla’s departure.
The move was one of a number of changes announced Thursday by Loblaw, Canada’s largest food and drug retailer, which closed its $12.4 billion (Canadian) acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart in late March.
Galen Weston, executive chairman of Loblaw, has been appointed president, effective immediately. As executive chairman, Weston is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the company and leading the board. As president, he will also be responsible for the execution of the company’s strategy, leadership of the management team and overall business performance.
Weston credited Pilla with doing “an outstanding job” at Shoppers Drug Mart since he joined the business almost three years ago.
“He played a pivotal role in the negotiation of the agreement to acquire Shoppers Drug Mart last year, and since then Domenic has been actively engaged in driving Shoppers Drug Mart’s business to deliver on its plan,” Weston said in a statement. “As well, Domenic has been focused on working with the team to ensure we realize the synergies identified for the combined businesses as a result of the acquisition. Domenic is leaving as he would like to continue his career by pursuing opportunities to lead a widely held public company, and we are respectful of his decision.
“For the balance of the year, Domenic will remain as president of Shoppers Drug Mart and be fully engaged in the business,” Weston added. “In addition to his normal duties, Domenic will work very closely with me to deliver on several important initiatives, including the transition to a new president of Shoppers Drug Mart. I have every confidence that Domenic will continue to make a significant contribution in the second half of the year.”
As Shoppers Drug Mart president, Motz will be responsible for delivering the strategic and operational plan for the drug chain, Canada’s largest. Loblaw noted that Motz, an 11-year Shoppers Drug Mart veteran, was instrumental in boosting the retailer’s competitiveness, customer offer and loyalty program.
“Since we announced the deal to acquire Shoppers Drug Mart over a year ago, we have made tremendous progress in realizing key deliverables that underpinned the transaction,” Weston stated. “Our two businesses are working well together, and we are on track to deliver the first $100 million in synergies by the end of the first quarter of 2015.”
Loblaw also announced Thursday that Vicente Trius, president of Loblaw since August 2011, will be leaving the company immediately for family reasons to return to Brazil.
“Vicente has made an enormous impact on virtually every aspect of our business in the time that he has been with the company,” Weston commented. “Our businesses are stronger, our customer proposition more compelling, and our operating effectiveness much improved. He has set a strong foundation for the future.”
In other executive changes, Loblaw said Richard Dufresne has been named chief financial officer of Loblaw and retains his role as CFO of George Weston Ltd. Also, Sarah Davis, previously Loblaw CFO, has been appointed chief administrative officer, and Grant Froese, previously chief administrative officer, has been named chief operating officer of Loblaw.
“I am very confident in the exceptionally talented team at Loblaw,” Weston stated. “This positions us well to leverage the potential of the new retail organization and drive financial performance.”
Loblaw’s acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart, announced last July, united Canada’s largest supermarket retailer with Canada’s biggest drug chain. At the time the deal closed, the merged company had 2,348 stores (corporate, franchised and associate-owned) and 1,797 pharmacies, generating 1 billion customer transactions per year. In 2013, the combined company generated revenue in excess of $43 billion and EBITDA of about $3 billion on a pro forma basis, according to Loblaw.