The question is: What is Loblaw President and Executive Chairman Galen Weston going to do with the C-suite now? Perhaps a serious upgrade is in order?
Loblaw reported that Weston received a $1.2 million (or 10%) raise in 2022. His annual compensation now sits at $11.79 million, which is not bad for a C-suite executive. If Weston was working on the store floor, say as a bagger, his hourly pay would be a whopping $5,679 an hour. He makes 431 times more than the average grocery employee ($27,300 a year).
Consultant Meridian Compensation Partners defended the boost, stating Weston’s total direct compensation was below the market median, and that much of the increase was due to the fact that the president started in mid-2021 and had the role for all of 2022.
David Macdonald, chief economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, said 30 and 40 years ago executives would be embarrassed to be making millions more than the typical worker.
Wayne Hanley, president of the union that represents 25,000 Loblaw employees, claimed executive compensation is simply out of control in Canada, and called the supermarket retailer out of touch.
Loblaw said 40,000 workers also received bonuses last year, and Hanley said his members also will be looking for a 10% pay raise like Weston’s when negotiations for a new contract begin.
Macdonald blames consultants for the king salaries, stating that many would get fired if they did not appease the executives.
Weston was recently grilled by the Canadian press about the price of the supermarket’s chicken.
A video has gone viral on social media about a pack of chicken that cost in upwards of $25, and alongside it there are packages going for much less. Weston claimed his company actually loses money when it comes to chicken breasts.
“These are examples of customers gravitating towards the higher priced items when there is a perfectly competitively priced chicken right next door,” Weston said. “We looked at our chicken prices across the entire enterprise and are very confident we are offering terrific value.”
Weston was grilled even further and was criticized by one reporter that chicken that high in price should not even make it out on the store floor. Weston was then asked if the company should absorb more of the cost.
“Chicken was at the right price in those stores available to customers,” he remarked. “So we are absolutely confident in that and will continue to make every effort that that is the case.”
Weston added the reason for the premium price of the chicken is because it is a specialty product.