OPERATIONS

Management shake-up at Loblaw and Shoppers Drug Mart

BY Marianne Wilson

Brampton, Ontario — Loblaw Cos. on Thursday announced a series of management changes, including the appointment of Galen Weston, executive chairman, as president, effective immediately. He succeeds Vicente Trius, president since August 2011, who is leaving the company, effective immediately, for family reasons to return to Brazil.

"Vicente has made an enormous impact on virtually every aspect of our business in the time that he has been with the company,” Weston said. “Our businesses are stronger, our customer proposition more compelling and our operating effectiveness much improved. He has set a strong foundation for the future.

The company also announced that Domenic Pilla , president of its Shoppers Drug Mart unit, is leaving by the end of 2014. Mike Motz, currently Shoppers Drug Mart executive VP and chief merchandising officer, will become the president of the drug store chain effective on the resignation of Pilla.

"For the balance of the year, Domenic will remain as president of Shoppers Drug Mart and be fully engaged in the business,” Weston said. “In addition to his normal duties, Domenic will work very closely with me to deliver on several important initiatives, including the transition to a new president of Shoppers Drug Mart.”

As part of the new management structure to support the Company’s evolving business, Weston appointed seasoned operational leaders to assume the following key roles:

• Richard Dufresne will assume the role of CFO of Loblaw. He will retain his role as CFO at George Weston Limited;

• Sarah Davis, previously CFO, will become chief administrative officer, responsible for supply chain, IT (including SAP implementation), Goods Not for Resale, Loblaw Properties and Strategy. Her key objective will be to deliver efficiencies across the organization, including those resulting from the implementation of SAP.

• Grant Froese, previously chief administrative officer, becomes COO of the company.

"I am excited about the future, and the opportunity to execute on the strategic vision we have built for the company. I am confident that Loblaw will continue to advance its business both financially and operationally and be well-positioned to create long-term sustainable value," Weston said.

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OPERATIONS

Microsoft to cut 18,000 jobs; focus on smartphone work capabilities

BY Dan Berthiaume

Redmond, Wash. – Microsoft Corp. is enacting a restructuring plan to simplify its organization and align the recently acquired Nokia mobile devices and services business with the company’s overall strategy. These steps will result in the elimination of up to 18,000 positions in the next year.

Of the total, about 12,500 professional and factory positions will be eliminated through synergies and strategic alignment of the Nokia devices and services business acquired by Microsoft on April 25. The actions associated with the plan are expected to be substantially complete by Dec. 31, 2014, and fully completed by June 30, 2015.

In an email to employees explaining the move, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the job cuts are part of an effort to “drive greater accountability, become more agile and move faster.” This will include fewer layers of management, a flattened organization and greater control span for managers who remain.

In addition, Nadella said Microsoft will “focus on breakthrough innovation that expresses and enlivens Microsoft’s digital work and digital life experiences” in its smartphone segment. Given the recent announcement that Apple will soon offer IBM analytical technology on its iPhones to make them more substantial work devices, it should be interesting to watch what Microsoft does in the burgeoning market for smartphones as professional tools.

The company expects to incur pre-tax charges of $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion during the next four quarters, including $750 million to $800 million for severance and related benefit costs, and $350 million to $800 million of asset-related charges.

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OPERATIONS

Market Basket employees threaten walkout

BY Dan Berthiaume

Tewksbury, Mass. – A group of Market Basket employees known as “Save Market Basket” have threatened to walk off the job as of 4:30 p.m. ET on July 17 if former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas is not reinstated. Demoulas had been waging a public battle with his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas, a stakeholder and director of the company, about finances when he was fired by Market Basket operator Demoulas Super Markets Inc. in June.

The board of directors of Demoulas Super Markets elected retail executives Felicia Thornton as COO and Jim Gooch as chief administrative officer, and the two will serve as co-CEOs. In an open letter to Thornton and Gooch on Facebook, Save Market Basket said Arthur T. Demoulas must be reinstated will full, non-negotiable authority and that a non-answer by the deadline will be considered a no.

Thornton and Gooch have publicly said they do not have authority to reinstate Demoulas, and that only the board can restore him to his position. It is unclear how many employees might participate in a walkout, whether it would include managers, warehouse workers, and/or store associates, and how long it would last. Demoulas remains a company shareholder.

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