Safeway Inc., the second-largest U.S. grocery-store chain, promoted Robert L. Edwards to chief executive officer to replace Steven Burd, who’s retiring next month after 20 years at the company.
The change is effective May 14, Pleasanton, California-based Safeway said today in a statement. Edwards, 57, who is now Safeway’s president, will also join the company’s board. Safeway in January announced Burd’s retirement.
Traditional grocery chains are facing more competition from big-box discounters such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. and higher-end stores such as Whole Foods Market Inc. Revenue growth at Safeway slowed to about 1.3 percent last year from about 6.3 percent in 2011.
Edwards joined Safeway in 2004 as executive vice president and chief financial officer. About a year ago, he was named president and oversaw the company’s retail operations. Peter J. Bocian took over as finance chief in February.
Safeway rose 0.9 percent to $23.51 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 30 percent this year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has advanced 12 percent.
Kroger Co. is the largest U.S. supermarket chain.