STELLARTON, Nova Scotia — Empire Co. here on Tuesday said that Paul D. Sobey plans to retire as president and chief executive officer effective Dec. 11. He will be succeeded by Marc Poulin, who currently is president and CEO of the company’s Sobeys supermarket division.


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"With the imminent closing of the Canada Safeway acquisition, Empire will be a truly operationally focused, leading grocery retailer in this country. As such, the time is right for the transition of leadership," Paul Sobey said in a statement.

Sobey, a 32-year Empire employee, has been president and CEO since 1998. He will continue as a director of the company.

Poulin, who joined Sobeys in 1997, will remain president and CEO of Sobeys, which comprised 98.3% of Empire’s revenues last year. Poulin was president of Sobeys’ Québec division for 11 years prior to his appointment as president and CEO of Sobeys in June 2012.

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Rob Dexter, chair of Empire's board of directors, said, “On behalf of the board, I thank Paul Sobey for his extraordinary accomplishments as CEO and throughout his 32-year career at Empire. Under his leadership, the company has transformed from a regional food retailer with other diversified operational investments and under $3 billion in sales, to a truly operationally focused, national food retailer with pro-forma sales of $24 billion [Canadian].”

Poulin said he was “honored by the board's confidence” in him.

“Our management teams are extremely excited about the Canada Safeway acquisition, including the opportunity for long-term, sustainable value creation through cash flow, income growth and equity appreciation associated with this acquisition and future growth of our business,” he said.

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