Executive Committee

From coast-to-coast, our business is led by dedicated leaders that share a common passion - food retailing.

Michael Medline

Michael Medline is President & Chief Executive Officer of Empire Company Limited (Empire) and its wholly-owned subsidiary Sobeys Inc., a leading Canadian grocery retailer and food distributor.

Mr. Medline is a proven leader with a strong track record of success in Canadian retail. He was appointed President & CEO of Empire in January 2017 after more than 15 years in a variety of senior retail leadership positions at Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC), including as that organization’s President & Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Medline began his career working with the Ontario Securities Commission in 1989, followed by two years practicing law with McCarthy Tétrault. He was Corporate Counsel for PepsiCo Canada before moving to Abitibi Consolidated Inc. where, between 1994 and 2001, he held a variety of roles including Senior Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development.

Active in the community, Mr. Medline serves as a member of the Board of the SickKids Foundation.  He is also a past Chair and current board member of the Retail Council of Canada. Mr. Medline has completed the Directors Education Program at the Rotman School of Management; holds an MBA from Raymond A. Mason School of Business, William & Mary; an LL.B. from the University of Toronto, and a BA from Western University.

Michael Vels

Michael Vels is the Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer of Empire Company Limited and Sobeys Inc., a leading Canadian grocery retailer and food distributer.

Mr. Vels was most recently Chief Financial Officer of Hydro One, where he led that organization’s Initial Public Offering in 2015, laying the foundation for the transformation of Hydro One from a crown corporation to a customer-focused, commercial investor-owned electrical utility.  During his tenure the organization created and began to execute a strategy to reduce costs, improve customer service and increase efficiencies.  Mr. Vels was responsible for finance, information technology, cyber and physical security and regulatory affairs.

From 2004 to 2014, Mr. Vels served as Maple Leaf Foods’ Chief Financial Officer, where he led the company’s finance, mergers and acquisitions, information technology and communications functions. He supported the successful transformation of Maple Leaf as it implemented new systems and transformed its manufacturing and supply chains. In 2014, he was named Chief Transition Officer, leading the restructuring of senior management and back office functions.

Mr. Vels was educated and earned his Chartered Accountant designation in South Africa, and prior to joining Maple Leaf Foods in 1991 worked in public accounting and mergers and acquisitions in South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Clinton Keay

Clinton Keay, CPA, CA is the Executive Vice President, Technology and Transformation Management for Sobeys Inc., a leading Canadian grocery retailer and food distributor.

Mr. Keay is responsible for leading all areas of the company’s IT infrastructure, including store support applications, business architecture and IT security. Leading Transformation Management, Mr. Keay will oversee Sobeys’ restructuring efforts, transforming the way the company conducts business.

Mr. Keay joined Sobeys in 1989 and held a number of progressively senior finance roles including interim Chief Financial Officer, Vice President, Accounting and Control and Vice President, Finance and Treasurer before being appointed Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer in 2002. As CIO he led all aspects in the development and execution of the company’s information technology strategy. He was appointed Executive Vice President, Finance, in 2014 and Interim CFO in July 2016.

Mr. Keay began his career with Clarkson Gordon providing audit, tax, valuation and business advisory services for a variety of clients in various business sectors.

A native of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Mr. Keay graduated from Saint Francis Xavier University in 1986 with an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration.

Lyne Castonguay

Lyne Castonguay is Executive Vice President, Merchandising for Sobeys Inc., a leading Canadian grocery retailer and food distributer.

Ms. Castonguay leads all aspects of Sobeys’ go-to-market strategy including category management, data insights, research, procurement, private label and merchandising. On an interim basis, she is also head of Marketing as well as the Company’s digital strategy.

A native of Edmundston, New Brunswick, Ms. Castonguay is a passionate and successful leader with more than 25 years experience in both retailing and manufacturing in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.

Before joining Sobeys in 2016, Ms. Castonguay spent 14 years in progressively senior roles at The Home Depot both in Canada and in the United States, including Senior Vice President, Home Services. Prior to her role at The Home Depot, she worked for General Electric in Canada where she held numerous roles including General Manager for the Canadian lighting business.

Ms. Castonguay holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Université de Moncton.

Jason Potter

Jason Potter is Executive Vice President, Operations, for Sobeys Inc., a leading Canadian grocery retailer and food distributor. He is currently responsible for the West Business Unit including the Sobeys, Safeway, Thrifty Foods, IGA (Western Canada) and Cash & Carry banners. In June 2017, Mr. Potter will assume accountability for Operations in Ontario and Atlantic.

Mr. Potter has worked with the company since 1992 in progressively senior operations and merchandising roles. Prior to his appointment as President, Operations, Western Canada in April 2015 he was President, Sobeys Multi-Format Operations.

Mr. Potter holds an MBA from Athabasca University and is a graduate of Harvard University’s Advanced Management Program for business. In May 2009, Mr. Potter was recognized as a recipient of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40™ award, which annually honours 40 Canadians under the age of 40 for vision, leadership, innovation, achievement and community involvement.

Vivek Sood

Vivek Sood is Executive Vice President, Related Businesses for Sobeys Inc., a leading Canadian grocery retailer and food distributor.

Mr. Sood is accountable for a portfolio of businesses that are not directly focused on food retailing at Sobeys Inc., including Pharmacy, Wholesale, Convenience, Fuel, Liquor and the Big 8 beverage plant.

Prior to this appointment, Mr. Sood served as General Manager of Sobeys National Pharmacy Group, comprised of the wholly-owned pharmacy-focused businesses of Sobeys Inc.

A native of Stellarton, Nova Scotia, Mr. Sood has been with Sobeys Inc. since 2000. His career at Sobeys has included senior positions in Merchandising, Treasury, Investor Relations and Corporate Strategic Planning.  Prior to joining Sobeys Inc., Mr. Sood held senior roles with Scotiabank and the Nova Scotia Provincial Government.

Mr. Sood serves on Saint Mary’s University’s Advisory Board for The David Sobey Center for Innovation in Retailing and Services.  He is also Chair of the Neighborhood Pharmacy Association of Canada.

Mr. Sood holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Dalhousie University and a Masters of Business Administration from Saint Mary’s University.  He received his Chartered Financial Analyst Designation from the CFA Institute in 2004.

Pierre St-Laurent

Pierre St-Laurent is Executive Vice President, Quebec for Sobeys Inc., a leading grocery retailer and food distributor. Recognizing the unique aspects of the company’s business in this province, Mr. St-Laurent has responsibility for Operations, Merchandising and Marketing.

Prior to this appointment, Mr. St-Laurent was Senior Vice President & General Manager, Retail Operations & Business Development for Sobeys Québec. In this role he was responsible for all retail operations, real estate and commercial development, store design, and construction for all banners. He was also accountable for the convenience and fuel business.

Mr. St-Laurent has spent his career at Sobeys, joining the company following his university graduation in 1991. He has developed a breadth of experience and extensive business knowledge through progressively senior roles in finance, distribution and logistics, retail operations and business development.

Mr. St-Laurent is a Member of the Board of the Fondation Charles-Bruneau, and plays a significant role in key fundraising events.

A native of Ste-Anne-des-Monts, Québec, Canada, Mr. St-Laurent holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Rob Adams

Rob Adams is General Manager, Discount Format for Sobeys Inc., a leading Canadian grocery retailer and food distributer.

Mr. Adams is responsible for the Company’s discount strategy.  He also provides banner leadership for FreshCo, which he launched in 2010, Chalo! FreshCo (launched in 2015), and Price Chopper stores. Mr. Adams leads the Merchandising, Operations and Marketing functions for Sobeys Inc.’s discount locations.

Prior to joining Sobeys in June 2009, Mr. Adams spent 25 years in progressively senior positions at another national food retailer. Since 1988 he has been focused on discount format business development, franchisee relations, operations and strategy development in Canada.

Mr. Adams holds an Honours degree in Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario Business School. He is a native of Guelph, Ontario.

Simon Gagné

Simon Gagné is Executive Vice President, Human Resources for Sobeys Inc., a leading Canadian grocery retailer and food distributor.

In his capacity as overall leader of the Company’s People, Performance and Development strategy, Mr. Gagné serves as the principal counsel and steward of Sobeys’ talent attraction, retention and development initiatives, as well as the organization’s succession and career planning, leadership development and people engagement initiatives.

A native of Matane, Québec, Mr. Gagné has close to 30-years experience in food retailing and in private and public transportation. Between 1985 and 1997, Mr. Gagné held a variety of progressively senior management positions with Cabano Transport in both Montréal and Ottawa and with the Montreal Urban Transit system (STM).

In 1997, he joined the Oshawa Group as Director, Employee Relations and in 2000 was appointed Vice President, Human Resources and Internal Communications, Sobeys Quebéc. In 2010, he assumed additional responsibility for the Company’s Distribution & Logistics function in Québec.

Mr. Gagné is actively involved in community sports and leisure.

Mr. Gagné has a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree from Laval University.