It is good to see that a real grocery person is slated to take the reins at Canada’s largest chain of grocery stores. It hardly means that the time of the galloping inflation in groceries is over, but we will not have it rubbed in by the scion of the Weston empire, Galen Weston Junior.
Galen Weston is no Dave Nichol. The late Dave Nichol was the marketing expert who developed the No Name and Presidents Choice lines of products for Loblaws back in the 1980s. He brought simple products to radio and television and made them famous. It is Nichol’s style that Galen Weston uses today to huckster the products for Loblaws.
As president of the family business, Weston was recently one of the three grocery executives invited to Ottawa to tell our MPs why grocery prices seemed out of control. He coldly told the MPs at the hearing that they did not understand his business.
I do understand his business and I go back to the days before he was born and my late friend Leon Weinstein moved from Power Stores to be president of Loblaws. I was out of town when liberal Keith Davey embarrassed Leon by taking him to a liberal party meeting that was choosing a candidate to run for mayor of Toronto. I was lucky Leon lost. Keith had me in mind to manage Leon’s campaign.
And I have nothing against the Weston family. I respected Junior’s father as a businessman and I liked his mother when she was lieutenant governor of Ontario. She understood the duties of the elite.
But when Galen Junior and others, such as Ted Rogers’ son Edward, inherit and try to run these huge companies, their first responsibility is to the thousands of employees who have also been part of the company’s success. The long-term security of those jobs is secured in the reputation of the firm. That means that there is a time to protect earnings and a time to ease up on earnings to maintain the position of the company. A company that has had an illustrious past, deserves a strong future.
Neither Edward Rogers nor Galen Weston Junior need worry about earnings growth quarter by quarter. They have a responsibility to the past generations and the future of the companies they control.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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