W. Galen Weston, chairman of Loblaw Companies and the board of directors, has announced that he will step aside for his son Galen G. Weston who will succeed his father as executive chairman.

The elder Weston will remain chairman of George Weston Ltd, which controls Loblaw, Canada's largest supermarket operator. 

Having failed to meet ambitious targets to improve supply chain management, lower prices and expand stores within the time frame specified, John Lederer has resigned as president of the company.

Mark Foote, executive vice president of general merchandising, will assume many of Lederer's responsibilities, including management of the supply chain and food and general merchandise businesses.

The remainder of Lederer's responsibilities will be taken over by Galen G. Weston. These include labour relations, the President's Choice banking business, store expansion, property development and retail.

Allan Leighton, chairman of the Royal Mail Group in the UK, also joins the Loblaw board as deputy chairman.

"All three of these appointments strengthen the leadership structure and give us the depth, breadth and experience that will take the company forward, and reflect the Weston family's commitment to the succession process," said W. Galen Weston. "The board and the Weston family, as the controlling shareholder, have been considering the company's future leadership structure and succession for some time. With John's stepping down, this is the appropriate point at which to implement a number of those considerations as we manage and prepare for the company's future."