After 20 Years, Steve Burd To Retire As Safeway CEO In May

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Steve Burd, Safeway’s long-time chairman and CEO, will retire as chief executive and director of the large Pleasanton, CA supermarket chain at the company’s annual stockholders meeting on May 14, 2013. The board of directors will begin a search for a successor, and will consider both internal and external candidates for the job. Burd will help with the search and will continue to assist the company after he transitions out of his leadership posts.

Burd joined Safeway in October 1992 as president and was appointed CEO in May of the following year. As CEO, he has been responsible for transforming the company over an unprecedented 20 years at the helm.

Like other large supermarket chains retailers over the past two years, Safeway has struggled with same store sales and its stock price. During the past year, the Pleasanton,CA based retailer made several moves to position itself to be a stronger operation in the future.

In April 2012, Safeway EVP/CFO Robert Edwards, 56, succeeded Burd as president of the company, taking over day-to-day oversight of retail operations, marketing, merchandising, corporate brands, manufacturing, distribution and finance functions. Edwards joined Safeway in 2004.

Edwards and executive VP Larree Renda, 54, are considered two of the strongest candidates to be considered for the CEO post. Renda, who has been with Safeway since 1974, now oversees information technology and real estate initiatives, human relations, labor relations, strategic initiatives, corporate social responsibility, government relations, public affairs and Safeway Health.

In September 2012, Safeway announced plans to sell a minority stake in Blackhawk Network Holdings, its gift-card subsidiary, a move analysts said could generate more than $750 million while enabling Safeway to continue to reap benefits from Blackhawk’s growth.

Safeway said it will file a registration statement for a potential initial public offering of Blackhawk and expects to execute the deal during the first half of this year. Blackhawk represents volume of $6.9 billion, or 14 percent of Safeway’s business.