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Safeway’s longtime Chairman and CEO Steve Burd plans to retire at the company's annual stockholders meeting on May 14, the company announced in a news release.
As CEO, Burd has been responsible for transforming Safeway for 20 years. He also is retiring as director.
Safeway will consider internal and external candidates in its search for a successor, and Burd will help with the search and will continue to assist the company after he transitions out of his leadership posts.
"I feel this is the right time to move forward with a transition plan," Burd said in the release. "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."
"Steve has been an iconic leader and is one of the industry's most innovative CEOs," said Gary Rogers, Safeway'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."
Burd’s initiatives included developing the "Lifestyle" store format, introducing a higher level of quality in perishable products, and accelerating 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.
“While I still have the high level of energy and enthusiasm I brought to the company 20 years ago,” Burd added, “I need more personal time and, given my extensive work in health care, I want to pursue that interest further.”