Ex-Burns CEO, Walmart buyer join ALMA

A former Walmart vice-president of global procurement for food and a former CEO of Burns Food have joined Alberta’s new provincial livestock agency.

Provincial Agriculture Minister George Groeneveld on Thursday announced the appointments of Wayne McKnight of Mississauga, Ont., and Ron Jackson of Calgary to the board of the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA).

Jackson, a semi-retired senior executive, now chairs TriWest Capital Partners, a private equity firm with about $420 million under management, and was previously chair and CEO of food processor and distributor Burns Food Ltd.

Jackson, who served in various upper-management roles at Burns, oversaw various food processing and distribution operations including its meat and pork operations as well as hide processing and transportation.

McKnight, the former vice-president of global procurement of food at Walmart Stores Inc., now heads McKnight Insights and Solutions Inc., which provides a “business strategy and advisory service to the global food industry.”

According to the province’s release, McKnight was responsible for “developing an implementing a global food procurement and logistics model to support Wal-Mart’s rapidly expanding retail business units around the world and for developing a global supply base that facilitates both import and export commerce.”

ALMA, which the province began setting up in June 2008, is meant to align and redirect government funds, resources and programs to “revitalize” the province’s livestock sector and help boost industry competitiveness and profitability, with market access for Alberta livestock and meat among its priorities.

Other board members include former Canadian Cattlemen’s Association executive vice-president Charlie Gracey, former Maple Leaf Foods International president Ted Bilyea and McDonald’s Canada vice-president Jeff Kroll. Joe Makowecki, president of Heritage Frozen Foods, chairs ALMA’s board.

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