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Sobeys promotes pharmacy chief Vivek Sood to bigger role

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STELLARTON, Nova Scotia — Vivek Sood, pharmacy chief at Sobeys Inc., has been appointed executive vice president of related businesses at the Canadian food and drug retailer’s parent, Empire Co.

In his new role, Sood will oversee the company’s pharmacy, wholesale, fuel, convenience and liquor businesses and report to Michael Medline, president and chief executive officer of Empire. Most recently, Sood was general manager of the Sobeys National Pharmacy Group, which includes Sobeys supermarket pharmacies and Lawtons Drugs.

Vivek Sood_Sobeys

Vivek Sood

Sood joined Sobeys in 2000 and served in various senior merchandising and finance roles with Sobeys and Empire. He later held leadership positions in Lawtons Drugs, including senior vice president, before being named to lead the drug chain as general manager in 2014 with the retirement of president and CEO Rob Sobey.

Currently, Sood also chairs the board of the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada, the country’s retail pharmacy trade group.

Sood‘s appointment is part of a major reorganization at Empire that aims to yield $500 million in annualized cost savings by the end of the company’s 2020 fiscal year.

Empire said this week that the savings will come from consolidating multiple, independent regions into a mostly national, functionally driven structure; simplifying how the company works with vendors and leverages its buying scale as a $24 billion company; and boosting enterprisewide efficiency and productivity. The company said it had sketched out a comprehensive three-year plan for the transformation.

Other leadership appointments in the new structure include Jason Potter as executive VP of operations, Lyne Castonguay as executive VP of merchandising and Pierre St-Laurent as executive VP for Quebec. Empire said Rob Adams will remain general manager for the discount format as the company assesses its future discount strategy. All will report to ­Medline.

In addition, Empire announced the retirements of executive VP François Vimard, who had once served as interim president and CEO, and Yves Laverdière, president of the Quebec business unit. The company also said that Beth Newlands Campbell, president of the Atlantic/Ontario business unit, will leave the company in June.

“The future Sobeys will operate with a simpler, leaner structure, more efficient core processes and tools, and will better leverage its $24 billion national scale,” Medline said in a statement.


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