MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – Maple Leaf Foods Inc. announced on April 5 that board chairman David L. Emerson will retire from the board of directors at the annual general meeting on May 2.

Emerson joined the board as chairman in May 2012. He has served in the private and public sector of Canada including as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of International Trade, and Minister of Industry.

“David joined the board at a critical juncture in the company's development,” said Michael McCain, Maple Leaf Foods president and CEO. “He led the board’s oversight of the successful completion of Maple Leaf’s prepared meats business supply chain transformation, as well as the reorganization of our business operations, including the divestiture of our rendering operations and bakery industry investments. My fellow directors and I have the highest regard for David’s leadership and are honored to have served with him.”

Following Emerson’s retirement, Maple Leaf Foods expects W. Geoffrey Beattie to be the next chairman of the board. Shareholders will vote for the election of other board directors at the meeting.

“In anticipation of my retirement from the board, the directors considered succession for the position of Chair and determined Mr. Beattie’s combination of experience, leadership and knowledge of the Company make him an excellent choice,” Emerson said.

Beattie has been on the Maple Leaf board for 10 years and is the CEO of Generation Capital and chair of Relay Ventures. He is also a director of the General Electric Company, Baker Hughes, a GE Company and Fiera Capital Corporation, and was previously a director of Royal Bank of Canada and Acasta Enterprises Inc.