Safeway Announces Retirement of Chairman and CEO Steve Burd
PLEASANTON, Calif., Jan. 2, 2013
PLEASANTON, Calif., Jan. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Safeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY)
announced today that Steve Burd, its long-time Chairman and CEO, will retire
as CEO and as a director at the Company's annual stockholders meeting on May
14, 2013. The Board of Directors will begin a search for a successor, and
will consider both internal and external candidates for the job. Mr. Burd
will help with the search and will continue to assist the Company after he
transitions out of his leadership posts.
Mr. Burd joined Safeway in October 1992 as President and was appointed CEO in
May of the following year. As CEO, he has been responsible for transforming
the Company over an unprecedented 20 years at the helm.
Among some of his key initiatives were establishing a culture of thrift and
capital discipline, creating an industry-leading customer service program,
developing the "Lifestyle" store format, introducing a level of quality in
perishable products that had never been seen in food retailing, and forming a
leading prepaid payment network that has become one of the largest
distributors of gift cards in the world. He also accelerated the Company's
efforts in charitable giving and sustainability. During his tenure, the
Company raised more than $2 billion for charities, including over $200 million
for cancer research.
Mr. Burd's arrival at Safeway, a largely unionized company, coincided with an
extraordinary growth in new food retail formats, virtually all of them
non-union. These changes put downward pressure on both sales and margins, but
through strategic initiatives and cost reduction efforts, Safeway still
managed to outperform the S&P 500 over the last 20 years.
Safeway has also become one of the nation's most recognized leaders in health
care. In the last eight years, Safeway has introduced innovative design and
practice features into its health plans. As a result, while the average U.S.
company experienced an 8 percent annual growth in employer health care costs
from 2005 through 2011, Safeway averaged a 2 percent annual growth rate for
both the employer and employee contributions.
More recently, Safeway has introduced a unique digital marketing/loyalty
platform called just for U™. This platform allows the Company to personalize
its prices to individual shoppers. Safeway has also partnered with a
technology company to bring innovative health care services to Safeway's
"I feel this is the right time to move forward with a transition plan," said
Mr. Burd. "The Company is gaining market share with each passing quarter. We
have developed the most sophisticated digital marketing platform in retail, we
are implementing the most comprehensive and personalized fuel loyalty program,
and we will be rolling out a wellness initiative that has the potential to
transform the Company."
"While I still have the high level of energy and enthusiasm I brought to the
Company 20 years ago," Mr. Burd added, "I need more personal time and, given
my extensive work in health care, I want to pursue that interest further."
"Steve has been an iconic leader and is one of the industry's most innovative
CEOs," said Gary Rogers, the Company's Lead Independent Director. "He will be
very difficult to replace. As he moves to the next phase of his career, we
hope to continue to leverage his input and assistance as the Company moves
ahead with its exciting new programs."
ABOUT SAFEWAY www.Safeway.com
Safeway Inc. is a Fortune 100 company and one of the largest food and drug
retailers in North America, based on sales. The company operates 1,644 stores
in the United States and western Canada and had annual sales of $43.6 billion
in 2011. The company's commonstockis traded on the New York Stock Exchange
under the symbol SWY.
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the
meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements are based on the
Company's current plans and expectations and involve risks and uncertainties
which are, in many instances, beyond the Company's control, and which could
cause actual results to differ materially from those included in or
contemplated or implied by the forward-looking statements. The Company
undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect
developments or information obtained after the date hereof and disclaims any
obligation to do so. Please refer to the Company's reports and filings with
the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent Annual
Report on Form 10-K, as amended, subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and
subsequent Current Reports on Form 8-K, for a further discussion of these
risks and uncertainties.
Media: Brian Dowling, 925-467-3787, Brian.Dowling@Safeway.com
Investors: Melissa Plaisance, 925-467-3136, Melissa.Plaisance@Safeway.com
SOURCE Safeway Inc.
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