From coast-to-coast, the businesses of Empire and Sobeys Inc. are led by an executive team of dedicated leaders who share a common passion - food retailing.
This committee holds the roles and responsibilities of:
To read more about each member of this committee, select their profile to expand their description.
President and CEO
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.
Executive Vice President and CFO
Matt Reindel is the Chief Financial Officer of Empire Company Limited and Sobeys Inc., a leading Canadian grocery retailer and food distributer.
Mr. Reindel joined Empire Company Limited in 2019 as Senior Vice President, Finance Business Support. During his time in this role, Mr. Reindel led the Company’s finance operational and business support functions, where he was responsible for the commercial side of the business, across all regions, banners and Business Units. While Senior Vice President, Mr. Reindel established himself as an invaluable leader and an anchor in positioning the Company’s Project Horizon strategic plans for success. Most notably, he expertly led the Longo’s partnership and has supported the execution of many large-scale enterprise-wide initiatives. Mr. Reindel remains active on the Longo’s Board of Directors.
Mr. Reindel has extensive experience within Grocery Retailing and consumer-packaged goods, gained through his time working and living in Canada, USA, Europe and Asia. From 2012 to 2019, Mr. Reindel served as Chief Financial Officer at Nestlé Nutrition North America, where he held full financial responsibility for the business’ North American Region. During his tenure, Mr. Reindel oversaw the planning and execution of comprehensive business transformation plans, while driving key strategic and business development initiatives, including refocusing marketing investments towards digital, and more effectively capturing e-commerce growth opportunities.
Prior to acting as Chief Financial Officer at Nestlé Nutrition North America, Mr. Reindel held various senior leadership roles with Nestlé, including Head of Finance & Control (CFO) with Nestlé Professional in Singapore, Global Head of Market Reporting with Nestlé SA in Switzerland, and Director of Finance with Nestlé USA in Los Angeles. Mr. Reindel holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Nottingham and earned his Chartered Accountant designation in the United Kingdom in 1995.
Executive Vice President and CDO
Michael Vels is the Chief Development Officer at Empire Company Limited and Sobeys Inc., a leading Canadian grocery retailer and food distributer.
Mr. Vels joined the Company in 2017 as Chief Financial Officer, where his leadership was key to the successful completion of Project Sunrise in fiscal 2020, a three-year transformation strategy that had net benefits of over $550 million. These benefits came from the realignment of the organization from a regional to national structure, operational efficiencies and improvement in costs of goods sold through a category reset program.
As Chief Development Officer, Mr. Vels focuses his leadership talents towards delivering the Company’s growth targets and improvements in internal execution. Mr. Vels also continues to lead the business’ real estate, technology and enterprise project management teams, as well as any merger and acquisition work.
Prior to Sobeys, Mr. Vels was 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 serves as Treasurer of Canada’s National Ballet School. He 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. He has also earned his ICD.D designation.
Executive Vice President of Related Businesses
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.
Executive Vice President and COO
Pierre St-Laurent is the Chief Operating Officer of Empire Company.
Mr. St-Laurent is responsible for Sobeys’ merchandising, retail operations, and supply chain across the Company’s full service and community banners.
Since May 2017, he has been the exceptionally effective, results-oriented leader of the company’s strong Quebec business. Keenly focused on innovation, partnership and disciplined execution, Mr. St-Laurent’s track record and reputation as a merchant are widely respected throughout the industry.
Joining the company after graduating university in 1991, Mr. St-Laurent has spent his career at Sobeys and has developed a breadth of experience and extensive business knowledge through progressively senior roles in finance, distribution and logistics, retail operations, and business development. Prior to leading the Quebec business, Mr. St-Laurent was Senior Vice President & General Manager, Retail Operations & Business Development for Sobeys Quebec.
A native of Ste-Anne-des-Monts, Quebec, Mr. St-Laurent holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Université du Québec à Montréal and is a Member of the Board of the Fondation Charles-Bruneau, playing a significant role in key fundraising events.
Executive Vice President and CHRO
Simon Gagné is Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer 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.
Senior Vice President of the General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Doug Nathanson is the Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Empire Company Limited and Sobeys Inc., a leading Canadian grocery retailer and food distributor.
Mr. Nathanson was most recently General Counsel at Canadian Tire Corporation, where he was responsible for all legal matters across the Canadian Tire family of companies, as well as all legal aspects of new business opportunities, partnerships and acquisitions. He also served as Chief Human Resources Officer, leading the HR team across all business units and at various times, led Canadian Tire’s petroleum business and the corporate strategy group.
Prior to serving at Canadian Tire, Mr. Nathanson was the Associate General Counsel at MI Developments, Magna International’s real estate operating company. Earlier in his career, he worked in Toronto and New York at major international law firms and served as a clerk at the Ontario Court of Appeal.
Mr. Nathanson holds a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton University (High Distinction) and a Juris Doctor from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law where he won the Angus MacMurchy Gold Medal. He is a member of the Bar in both Ontario and New York State.
Senior Vice President of Ecommerce
Sarah Joyce is Senior Vice President, Ecommerce for Sobeys Inc., a leading Canadian grocery retailer and food distributer.
Ms. Joyce has end-to-end accountability for Sobeys’ ecommerce strategy and is responsible for the online customer offer and branding through Sobeys’ innovative Ocado partnership.
Prior to joining Sobeys in June 2018, Ms. Joyce was at HBC where she was General Manager of Saksoff5th.com and Gilt.com. Accountable for strategy and all aspects of day-to-day operations, she is a seasoned, strategic new-world retail leader with a terrific track record at the forefront of online retailing.
A native of Ottawa, Ontario, Ms. Joyce holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Queen’s University and an MBA from Stanford University.
Senior Vice President of Marketing
As Senior Vice President of Marketing for Sobeys Inc., the second largest national grocery retailer and food distributor in Canada, Sandra oversees marketing across a broad portfolio of banners, including: Sobeys, Safeway, Thrifty Foods, Foodland, FreshCo, and Lawtons. Sandra is a member of the Sobeys Inc. Executive Committee and is accountable for the organization’s banner brand strategies, integrated marketing, digital transformation, insights & analytics, loyalty program, sports partnerships and community investment. Sobeys Inc. was named a 2020 Brand of the Year by Strategy under Sandra’s leadership.
Sandra has extensive marketing experience in leading successful brands across diverse industries. She was Chief Marketing and Quality Officer at Walmart Canada, where she led development of the new prototype store design and the marketing campaign to relaunch fresh food. She also launched Walmart Media Group and drove growth of Private Label through innovation. Sandra served as Senior Vice-President of Marketing at Shoppers Drug Mart, where she oversaw the growth of the Optimum program, the relaunch of Beauty Boutique and digital transformation efforts. Sandra also held senior marketing roles at many leading organizations including Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Canada Post, and Universal Studios. Prior to joining Sobeys Inc., Sandra was Senior Vice President of Marketing at White House Black Market in the U.S. Sandra currently serves on the Board of Directors for Tiary.com.
Throughout her career, Sandra has invested in giving back to the Marketing community. She was on the Canadian Marketing Association’s Board of Directors for four years, including Vice-Chair of the Board. Sandra served as Chair of Retail Council of Canada’s Senior Retail Marketing Committee and was on the Advisory Board of the Shopper Marketing Forum and Dx3. Sandra is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and has judged numerous awards including: CMA Awards, The Cassies, Media Agency of the Year, Shopper Innovation Awards and the Marketing Hall of Legends.
Sandra was named Marketer of the Year in 2020 by the Canadian Marketing Association. She was also a recipient of the Star Women in Grocery Award in 2015, and named Marketer of the Year by Strategy in 2012.
Senior Vice President of Innovation, Sustainability, and Strategy
Mohit Grover is Senior Vice President, Innovation, Sustainability and Strategy for Sobeys Inc., a leading Canadian grocery retailer and food distributor.
Mr. Grover joined Sobeys from Google Canada where he was Head of Industry for the last five years. He is a recognized leader in building relationships with clients at the forefront of innovation and has successfully tailored Google’s solutions to enable innovation at many of Canada’s most important retailers.
His deep understanding of the retail sector, together with his knowledge of the newest trends and technology in our industry, is invaluable. Prior to his years at Google, Mr. Grover built his passion for retail strategy and innovation at McKinsey & Company where he was a leader in the firm’s North American Retail and Merchandising practice.
Over his six-year tenure at McKinsey, he led multiple teams of consultants in addressing his clients’ strategic, merchandising and operations challenges. Mr. Grover holds an MBA from INSEAD and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto.
General Manager of Discount Stores
Mike Venton is General Manager, Discount Format for Sobeys Inc., a leading Canadian grocery retailer and food distributer.
Mr. Venton is responsible for the Company’s discount strategy and leads the Merchandising, Operations and Marketing functions for FreshCo and Price Chopper stores.
Prior to joining Sobeys in January 2018, Mr. Venton was the Senior Vice President of No Frills Franchise Business and was responsible for the leadership of the 255-store banner – the fastest growing business at Loblaw Companies Limited.
Mr. Venton is one of the most experienced and successful discount leaders in Canada, he has an impressive resume with more than 30 years’ experience in grocery retail. Holding progressively senior roles in operations, merchandising and marketing, Mr. Venton consistently exceeded sales and profit expectations and led major strategic initiatives.
Mr. Venton holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfred Laurier University and has pursued continuing education opportunities including the Executive Marketing program at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario and Competitive Strategy through Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
Chief of Staff and Office of the CEO
Danielle Amirault is Chief of Staff, Office of the CEO for Sobeys Inc., a leading Canadian grocery retailer and food distributor.
Ms. Amirault is accountable for researching and developing Board and Executive Committee materials, facilitating the flow of information across initiatives and functions, and completing work that advances the company’s priorities.
Beginning her career at the Boston Consulting Group, Ms. Amirault spent four years partnering with Canadian and global consumer goods and retail clients to deliver top and bottom-line growth. She progressively took on more responsibility in her role, including team mentorship and engaging directly with senior clients.
Concurrent with her graduate studies, Ms. Amirault was Director of Finance for Clover Food Lab, a restaurant chain in Boston, MA. In her role, she managed the finance function, driving the company’s financial agenda with the CEO and COO.
Ms. Amirault holds an Honours Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Queen’s University and recently completed her MBA at the Harvard Business School.
Sobeys Inc. is the wholly-owned subsidiary of Empire. Both companies have a wealth of business empowerments that continue in both branches of operation: food retailing and real estate. Follow the links below to find out more about these companies.