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Safeway Chairman Burd To Retire

At the company’s annual stockholders meeting on May 14, Safeway Inc. has announced, Steve Burd, the supermarket operator’s long-time chairman and chief executive officer, will retire as CEO and as a director. The board of directors will begin a search for a successor and will consider both internal and external candidates for the job, the company indicated.

Burd will help with the search and will continue to assist the company after he transitions out of his leadership posts, Safeway stated.

Burd joined Safeway in 1992 as president and was appointed CEO the following year. Among his key initiatives were establishing a culture of thrift and capital discipline, creating a customer service program, developing the Lifestyle store format and forming a leading prepaid payment network that has become one of the largest distributors of gift cards in the world, noted Safeway. 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.

More recently, Safeway has introduced a digital marketing and loyalty platform, dubbed just for U, that allows the company to personalize its prices to individual shoppers.

“I feel this is the right time to move forward with a transition plan,” said 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.”