Empire Company Ltd., the parent of Canadian grocer Sobeys Inc., has promoted Matt Reindel to chief financial officer, taking over from Michael Vels, who has shifted to the post of chief development officer.
Both appointments are effective immediately, Stellarton, Nova Scotia-based Empire said yesterday. Reindel previously served as senior vice president of finance, the role he held since joining Empire in 2019. With the promotion, he reports to Empire President and CEO Michael Medline and joins the company’s executive committee. Vels remains on the committee and will continue to report to Medline.
As senior VP of finance, Reindel (left) directed Empire’s operational and business support functions, in which he was responsible for the commercial side of the business across all regions, banners and business units. Empire noted that Reindel played a pivotal role in positioning its Project Horizon strategic growth plan and led the partnership with fresh grocer Longo’s, in which Empire acquired a majority stake in May. Mr. Reindel remains active on the Longo’s Board of Directors.
From 2012 to 2019, Reindel served as CFO of Nestlé Nutrition North America, where he oversaw business transformation plans and strategic initiatives, including refocusing marketing investments on digital and acting on e-commerce growth opportunities. Before that, he held a range of senior leadership roles with Nestlé, including head of finance and control for Nestlé Professional in Singapore, global head of market reporting for Nestlé SA in Switzerland and director of finance for Nestlé USA in Los Angeles.
“Over the last two years with Empire, Matt has established himself as a strong strategic leader with an ability to execute,” Medline said in a statement. “His extensive experience in consumer packaged goods and retail has been integral to our business success. Matt has been key in setting Project Horizon up for success and expertly leads our Longo’s partnership. We are fortunate to have him take on this new role.”
In his new role as chief development officer, Vels (left) will focus on helping Empire hit its growth targets and improve internal execution, the company said. He also will continue to lead Empire’s real estate, technology and enterprise project management teams, as well as continue to contribute to long-term strategic planning and lead merger-and-acquisition work.
Vels joined Empire as CFO in 2017, and the company noted that his leadership furthered the fiscal 2020 completion of Project Sunrise, a three-year transformation strategy realizing net benefits of more than $550 million. He came to Empire from after serving as CFO of electric power utility Hydro One. His career also includes roles as CFO and chief transition officer at consumer food company Maple Leaf Foods.
“I am thrilled that Mike Vels will continue in this new leadership role to support our long-term success at Empire. This transition tremendously increases our bench strength on the executive team. Leveraging Mike's extensive experience in this new role will enable us to focus on our growing ambitions post-Horizon and deliver strong and consistent shareholder value and earnings growth,” Medline stated. “I have such respect and confidence in Mike’s leadership and dedication to our business. He has been instrumental in delivering Project Sunrise and has been a key member of our executive team, launching and steering the execution of Project Horizon.”