The board of US grocery retailer Safeway is recommending that shareholders vote against proposals to separate the roles of chairman and chief executive, currently held by Steve Burd.

Safeway's board said the company's corporate governance strategy meant it was unnecessary to separate the posts, reported Reuters.

"The board believes that combining the offices of CEO and chairman contributes to a more efficient and effective board," the board was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Safeway is facing increasing pressure from shareholders to make management changes. Last week, pension fund Calpers said it would withhold its vote for Burd and two other directors seeking re-election at a shareholder meeting next month. Some shareholders have said they will not be satisfied unless the roles of chairman and CEO are separated, or Burd leaves the company altogether.