US supermarket operator Safeway has announced that Vasant Prabhu, the company's executive vice president and chief financial officer, will be leaving to become CFO at Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

Safeway said Prabhu will remain with the retailer until the end of the year to assist in the transition. A search is underway for his replacement. 

Safeway, which operates over 1,700 stores in the US and Canada, had annual sales of US$32.4bn from continuing operations in 2002. The company is one of the retailers at the centre of the ongoing grocery workers' strikes in southern California.