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Michael Medline, President & CEO, Empire Company and Sobeys
Empire Co. just completed one of the most successful transformations in Canadian retail history. And then the entire retail industry was put to the test. Join Michael Medline, President and CEO of Empire and Sobeys, to hear how the grocery giant not only emerged as a leader during the biggest crisis ever faced by food retail but also how it has positioned itself to keep pace with the rapid acceleration of retail in this new era.
Michael Medline is a Canadian business leader recognized for spearheading historic, transformational change at two of Canada’s biggest retail companies.
When he took over the helm in 2017, Medline rallied Empire’s workforce behind his sweeping vision to revive the retailer, and executed one of the most effective turnaround strategies in Canadian retail history. He enacted a series of dramatic changes, engaging communication between previously siloed parts of the business and restructuring operations. His successful three-year plan restored the company’s brand and earnings, created a deeper connection with customers and the communities in which it operates, and empowered its business leaders to make and execute smart decisions based on innovation and growth. Medline’s achievements led The Globe and Mail Report on Business magazine to select him as its 2018 CEO of the Year.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought Medline’s ability to inspire and empower his people into even sharper focus. With the grocer transforming into an essential service overnight, Medline acted quickly to steer employees through a challenging period that brought an unprecedented surge in business. He mobilized leaders at Empire’s national brands to be the first in Canada to implement new safety protocols, including plexiglass shields for cashiers and floor markers to encourage physical distancing.
Beyond his business accomplishments, Medline is active in the community. He serves as a member of the Board of the SickKids Foundation and is a past Chair of the Retail Council of Canada. He holds an MBA from Raymond A. Mason School of Business, William & Mary; an LL.B. from the University of Toronto, and a BA from Huron University College at Western University.