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Brian Parker, head of Distribution Canada, to retire

Grocery industry veteran was named president of buying group eight years ago

Brian Parker-DCI

Distribution Canada president and CEO Brian Parker is retiring after eight years at the helm of the independent grocer’s buying group.

Parker, 58, will stay on as president until a replacement has been found.

Parker (pictured) said he was retiring with “some sadness but with fond reflection,” after a more than 40-year career in grocery, retail and distribution.

“I believe I leave DCI in good hands,” he said in a press statement, later telling Canadian Grocer that, “I feel very fortunate to have worked in this business. I’ve met and worked with so many great people.”

DCI’s office is in Burlington, Ont., but its 88 members are nationwide. They includes Powell’s Supermarket in Newfoundland, Rabba Foods and Highland Farms in Toronto, L&M Food Markets in Elora, Ont., Stong’s Markets in Vancouver and Country Grocer in Victoria.

Overall, some 1,000 stores are part of DCI. This year the group celebrates its 35th anniversary.

“DCI has been a big part of my life and I will continue to watch in amazement what our entrepreneurial members will achieve. I believe independents will not only survive but thrive in an unpredictable retailer environment,” Parker said.

Parker joined DCI in January 2008. Before that, his career included time at Avondale Food Stores, based in Jordan Station Ont., Harpers Wholesale in Hamilton, and Courtney’s Wholesale in London, Ont. He started with Shoppers Drug Mart in 1974.

Francois Bouchard, chair of DCI and president of the Country Grocer in Ottawa, said Parker “has been key in the development and the growth of DCI.”

DCI’s board of directors has struck a selection committee to find a replacement for Parker. Applications will be accepted at careers@distributioncanada.ca until 4 p.m. on Feb. 22.

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