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BRAMPTON, Ontario — George Weston Ltd. and Loblaw Cos. today jointly announced the appointment of Per Bank as president and chief executive officer of Loblaw, Canada’s largest grocery and pharmacy operator.

Bank will join the company early next year, when Galen Weston is expected to step back from day-to-day leadership as the company’s chairman, president and CEO.

Bank has three decades of retail experience. He is the outgoing CEO of Salling Group A/S, Denmark’s largest retailer with 1,700 supermarkets across three countries. His new appointment follows a global talent search initiated in August in anticipation of Robert Sawyer’s planned retirement at the end of 2023  as Loblaw’s chief operating officer.

“Over the past two years, we have strengthened the foundations of the company,” Weston said in a statement. “Our management team is exceptional, and our 220,000 colleagues continue to deliver for our customers every day. In Per we have found a world-class retail executive to help us build from that position of leadership and strength, and to continue on that journey.”

Once he assumes his new role, Bank will oversee Loblaw’s day-to-day operations and report to the Loblaw board. Weston will remain chairman of the Loblaw board and CEO of George Weston Ltd., where he will be active in setting strategy for the group. Richard Dufresne will continue as Loblaw’s chief financial officer and president and CFO of George Weston Ltd. Sawyer will remain as COO until the end of the year, helping to deliver Loblaw’s 2023 plan while setting up Bank’s transition.

“Robert, Richard and I have worked side by side with our management teams to improve Loblaw’s performance,” Weston said. “Per is an exceptional executive with a decades-long track record of delivering retail excellence and successful growth – enabling a smooth transition for our teams. Coming from Salling, he arrives with a clear understanding of what it means to lead a nation’s largest retail network and team, and a family company established more than a century ago to help Canadians live life well.”

Bank expressed excitement at the prospect of joining the team. “Loblaw is admired worldwide for its sound values, long history of innovation, and the strong execution that has made the company what it is today,” he said.