Perspectives from ISB

George Weston Ltd is Canada’s largest food processing and distribution company. Founded by George Weston in 1882, the company today consists of Weston Foods, a wholly owned subsidiary, and Loblaw Companies Limited, the country’s largest supermarket retailer, in which it maintains controlling interest. The company is still controlled by the Weston family.

In a recent move fourth generation Galen G. Weston, 43,  has been named as Chairman and is slated to take the helm of this family-controlled food conglomerate, after his father, W. Galen Weston, stepped down as Executive Chairman. The senior Weston will retain the honorary title of Chairman Emeritus. He has followed the company tradition of stepping down from the board at the age of 75.

Galen was Executive Chairman of Loblaw since 2006 and president since 2014. During his tenure he countered the aggressive grocery expansion by Walmart Canada. Additionally the successful acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart in 2013 has earned the younger Weston respect in the business community. Hence analysts view this transfer of power as a ‘natural move’.

 Galen is not the only member of his generation to carry on the family tradition. His sister, Alannah Weston, was appointed as a director on the George Weston board this year and has served as creative director of British department store chain Selfridges since the Weston family bought it in 2004. In 2014, she was named Deputy Chairman at Selfridges Group, which owns the luxury retailers Holt Renfrew, Ireland’s Brown Thomas, Selfridges and de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands.

 Source: Financial Post, Sept 14, 2016

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