Empire said the appointment of Medline, who also joins its board of directors, is effective immediately. He takes the reins from François Vimard, who has served as interim CEO since last summer with the departure of Marc Poulin.
Vimard, who had served as Empire’s chief financial officer before being named interim CEO, now becomes executive vice president at the company.
Medline comes to Empire/Sobeys after more than 15 years in senior leadership roles at retailer Canadian Tire Corp., most recently as president and CEO.
“I am proud to be joining Empire, a great retailer which has served Canadians for more than 109 years,” Medline said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to working with our entire team to put together and execute on a strategy that will thrill our customers, build our brands and excite our shareholders.”
Empire said Medline will work closely with Vimard and the rest of the leadership team as he familiarizes himself with Empire’s business. The company noted that he will also benefit from the extensive food retailing experience of its board members.
“Michael Medline is an outstanding Canadian retailer who brings a passion for the customer experience and a proven ability to drive strong operating and financial performance within national organizations and across multiple brands,” stated James Dickson, chairman of Empire. “After an extensive international search, the board is unanimous in its determination that Michael is the right choice to create long-term value for all our stakeholders.”
Sobeys owns or franchises about 1,500 stores in all 10 provinces under a range of retail banners, including Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Thrifty Foods and Lawtons Drugs, plus more than 350 retail fuel locations. The Canadian retailer has more than 400 pharmacy locations, including 78 Lawtons Drugs stores.