Pleasanton, California-based supermarket giant Safeway has announced the promotion of several executives to senior VP (SVP) as part of its ongoing efforts to streamline the company's supply chain.

Wayne Foxworthy, who began his career with the company in 1972 as a food clerk, is to become SVP, merchandising systems and strategies. Foxworthy has been on assignment at the company's corporate office since 2000. Prior to that he was Vice President, Marketing Operations in Safeway's Northern California Division.

Howard Befort, who began his career at retail in the company's Denver division in 1971, is to become SVP, supply chain. Befort worked his way through the retail before being promoted to several senior marketing positions. Over the last 16 months he has been working on a marketing assignment at the corporate office.

Mike Minasi, who has been group VP, marketing since December 2000, is to become SVP, marketing. Minasi joined Safeway in 1996 after working for 10 years at Toys `R Us.

David Lee, who is now the SVP, non-perishables, has served as group VP, marketing since December 2000. Lee began his career at Vons in 1976 where he progressed through the retail and merchandising ranks including director of grocery merchandising. He joined Safeway's corporate office as a VP, in May 2000.

Jeff Ahlers, group VP, perishables, since March 2000, is to become SVP, perishables. He joined Safeway's Eastern Division in 1986 as its bakery merchandising manager and was named director of corporate bakery three years later, and VP in 1992.

Safeway's chairman, president and CEO, Steve Burd, commented: "All five individuals have proven themselves in their functional areas.

"The promotions reflect the pivotal corporate role each of them will play on the procurement and merchandising side of our business."