Excerpted from Financial Post:
It may be unfair, but Metro Inc. is often overlooked by the English-speaking press since its footprint is concentrated in Quebec and Ontario, while its two primary homegrown competitors — Loblaw Cos. Inc. and Empire Co. Ltd. — are national, but it’s been as busy changing as any company.
Since Eric La Flèche became chief executive 12 years ago, the Montreal-based grocer has grown both organically and by acquisition to now include 950 food stores, under several banners including Metro, Metro Plus, Super C and Food Basics, plus around 650 drugstores, two-thirds of which are from its most recent major — and most important — acquisition, Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc. in 2018 for $4.5 billion.
Managing all that is a tall order and a big reason why La Flèche has been named Canada’s outstanding CEO of the Year for 2020, as presented by Bennett Jones LLP, Caldwell Partners International Inc., National Post and BNN Bloomberg.
“In a market filled with strong and sophisticated competitors, La Flèche has guided Metro to a position of impressive strength and customer loyalty, doubling its asset base in the past five years, employing some 90,000 Canadians, and increasing its revenues to over $16 billion annually,” said John Wallace, chief executive of Caldwell Partners, founding partner of Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year. “La Flèche’s passion for understanding Metro’s customers — for analyzing the markets and acting upon the insights — has transformed the very nature of the customer experience.”