Safeway has employed headhunting firm Whitehead Mann to search for new talent to join its board.

Safeway director of communications Kevin Hawkins told Grocer Today the company was “not looking for a specific replacement” for cheif executive Carlos Criado-Perez, who joined the company in late 1999.

“There is no tearing hurry,” said Hawkins. “We are just looking for top quality people to join our main board in the next year or so. Carlos is in place for the next two or three years at least as his incentive package triggers in 2004/5.”

Looking beyond the company’s own confines for board level candidates was not a reflection of a lack of up and coming talent in the business, stressed Hawkins. “We’re simply widening our net.”