Michael Vels

Michael Vels is the Chief Financial Officer of Empire Company Limited and Sobeys Inc., a leading Canadian grocery retailer and food distributer. Mr. Vels is responsible for finance, real estate, information technology and the enterprise project management office. His leadership was key to the successful completion of Project Sunrise in fiscal 2020, a three-year transformation strategy that had net benefits of over $550 million. These benefits came from the realignment of the organization from a regional to national structure, operational efficiencies and improvement in costs of goods sold through a category reset program. Prior to Sobeys, Mr. Vels was Chief Financial Officer of Hydro One, where he led that organization’s Initial Public Offering in 2015, laying the foundation for the transformation of Hydro One from a crown corporation to a customer-focused, commercial investor-owned electrical utility.  During his tenure the organization created and began to execute a strategy to reduce costs, improve customer service and increase efficiencies.  Mr. Vels was responsible for finance, information technology, cyber and physical security and regulatory affairs. From 2004 to 2014, Mr. Vels served as Maple Leaf Foods’ Chief Financial Officer, where he led the company’s finance, mergers and acquisitions, information technology and communications functions. He supported the successful transformation of Maple Leaf as it implemented new systems and transformed its manufacturing and supply chains. In 2014, he was named Chief Transition Officer, leading the restructuring of senior management and back office functions. Mr. Vels serves as Treasurer of Canada’s National Ballet School.  He was educated and earned his Chartered Accountant designation in South Africa, and prior to joining Maple Leaf Foods in 1991 worked in public accounting and mergers and acquisitions in South Africa and the United Kingdom. He has also earned his ICD.D designation.