Corner Office Shifts: Danone makes leadership changes

Plus, Fire & Flower picks a chief innovation officer, and CEOs step down from Transat and Meridian.
Corner Office

Danone makes a pair of VP changes

Jeremy Oxley and Natalie Holloway are stepping into new VP roles at Danone Canada.

Oxley has been named VP of marketing, ecommerce and shopper activation. With the dairy company since 2018, he most recently served as VP marketing, strategy and insights. In his new expanded role, Oxley will drive enterprise integration of the company’s consumer and shopper engagement efforts and accelerate its growth in digital and ecommerce, the company said in a post on LinkedIn.

Meanwhile, Halloway, who previously held senior roles across the customer, commercial and insights teams, has been named VP of insights, strategy and transformation. Among other accomplishments, she has “developed and cultivated strategic partnerships with many of the company’s national retailers, contributing to the delivery of long-term sustained growth,” according to the company.

Hifyre president promoted to chief innovation officer at Fire & Flower

Cannabis retailer Fire & Flower has given Matthew Hollingshead a bigger mandate, appointing the president of its Hifyre subsidiary to the role of chief innovation officer at the parent company. Hollingshead, who joined the company following the 2018 acquisition of Hifyre, will continue to serve as president of the subsidiary.

In his new role, Hollingshead will lead the entire company’s innovation plans and as well its near- and long-term strategic business opportunities. “Under Matthew’s leadership, Hifyre has become a foundational element of Fire & Flower’s retail success and has been the key to establishing diversified revenue streams for our business and offering our partners unmatched insights into the customer cannabis journey,” said Trevor Fencott, Fire & Flower’s president and CEO, in a statement.

Fire & Flower operates a network of 80 corporate-owned stores consisting of the Fire & Flower, Friendly Stranger, Happy Dayz and Hotbox retail banners. It received a strategic investment from Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard, and piloted co-located stores with Circle K as part of its expansion strategy.

Transat’s founder steps down as CEO

Transat AT Inc. tapped Annick Guérard to be its next chief executive officer, replacing co-founder and CEO Jean-Marc Eustache.

The Montreal-based travel and airline company that owns Air Transat describes Eustache as one of the “principal architects” of its creation in 1987.

His succession by Guérard, who has served as Transat’s COO since 2017, comes as the company’s flight service remains suspended until July 29. It also follows its failed acquisition of by Air Canada, a deal first proposed in 2019 that valued the company at more than $720 million. Air Canada backed out of the planned merger after the companies were told the European Commission would not approve the transaction. Eustache also stepped down from the board of directors. The changes took effect May 27.

Meridian searches for next chief exec

Bill Maurin, president and CEO of Meridian and its Motusbank digital subsidiary, stepped down on May 31 after seven years at the helm of the country’s second-largest credit union.

Meridian COO Gary Genik has replaced Maurin on an interim basis as it searches for a permanent replacement. In a release, the company said the planned completion of Meridian’s Blueprint for Growth strategy later this year provided “a logical window to accelerate succession planning.”

Under Maurin, Meridian grew its assets from $10 billion under management to $26.5 billion as of the end of 2020. It also expanded its digital banking offering, gaining a national presence for the first time with the launch of Motusbank in 2019. Today, it is Ontario’s largest credit union with more than 370,000 members and customers.