Pattison shuffles executive structure at Save-on-Foods

The Jim Pattison Group’s 170-store Save-on-Foods division has shaken up its executive team in a bid to boost the company’s focus on its More Rewards program, as well as on its pharmacy and e-commerce capacity, said Save-on-Foods president Darrell Jones.

The Jim Pattison Group, owned by 91-year-old billionaire Jim Pattison, is the largest B.C.-based private company.

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The company said Save-On-Foods will hive off its More Rewards loyalty program into a separate operating unit.

Dan Howe moves into the role of president of More Rewards and his aim will be to rapidly expand the loyalty program, which provides members with benefits when they shop at Save-On-Foods, but also corporate partners such as Coast Hotels and Panago Pizza.

Howe had been vice-president of marketing for More Rewards, so he has gained a higher rank in the executive structure while no longer being focused broadly on marketing.

The expectation, Jones said, is that he will expand the program.

“At the moment he will continue to report to me,” said Jones, who reports directly to Jim Pattison Group president Glen Clark. “The goal is for us to eventually move ourselves to [More Rewards] being a completely separate operating division.”

The Jim Pattison Group has interests in media, signs, automotive dealerships, forest products and many other sectors in addition to groceries. 

It has 20,021 employees based in B.C. and is the largest company that has operations outside B.C. ranked by the number of B.C.-based employees.

Splintering off the More Rewards part of Save-On-Foods could be the start of a significant new foray for the company. Other significant executive moves at Save-On-Foods hint at that division being more focused on pharmacy items, and on e-commerce.

Jones promoted Brenda Kirk to senior vice-president of health, wellness, and what the company calls its “own brands.” She had been vice-president of innovation and private brands.

“It’s a bigger focus we have on the health and beauty side of the business,” Jones said. “You’ll see a lot more beauty care and natural supplements — that whole side of the business will be enhanced.”

Wayne Curie will continue to oversee the e-commerce side of the business, but he will do it as senior vice-president of information technology, supply chain and e-commerce. He had been responsible for the area under the more general title of senior vice-president of IT.

“E-commerce and supply chain are really critical to us,” Jones said. “This emphasizes the focus.”

The company’s supply operations are will be headed by newly promoted managing director Joe Stelnicki.

Some of the other changes include the new executive rank of regional vice-president for what had been regional general managers.

Paul Cope is now vice-president of Save-On-Foods B.C., and oversees all aspects of operations for the company’s B.C. stores. He had been the B.C. regional general manager.

Ben Harrack is now vice-president of Save-On-Foods, Prairies, and is responsible for all aspects of the company’s operations outside of B.C., which extend as far east as Manitoba and north to the Yukon. He had been the general manager of that region.

Another move affects the new executive vice-president of Save-On-Foods, Jamie Nelson. He had been executive vice-president of retail and will now oversee marketing, public affairs and corporate social responsibility, people and communications, merchandising and inventory management, health, innovation and private brands, and real estate and store development.

Save-on-Foods plans to open its 171st store in Steveson, in Richmond, this year. That is one of at least seven stores that the company plans to open by the end of next year.

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