President of Loblaw Cos for nearly the last 25 years, Richard Currie had announced that he is set to resign on 1 January, handing over the corporate baton to John Lederer, the vice president for operations and merchandising in Eastern Canada. "It's a natural succession: Proper age, proper stage," said Currie, adding, "this process has been in the works for a couple of years."When Currie took the leadership role at Canada's largest grocery retailer in 1976, its supermarket chain was valued at C$40m. Now worth C$14bn, Loblaw has diversified its product range, developed in-store stores and financial services and opened larger store formats in a bid to compete with the increasing numbers of fastfood restaurants and discount stores. Lederer, who has worked with Currie for six years, commented that he has no intention of shaking up the successful business formula. This extends to his reticence regarding the retailer's venture into the world of online selling: "We will make sure there is a proven demand from our customers before we go ahead."Currie, meanwhile, will remain in his role as director and president of