With Sawyer at the helm, a turnaround for RONA

BOUCHERVILLE, Que. — Robert Sawyer kept a low profile while with Metro, but he’s unlikely to maintain it at RONA. Since he took up the helm in April after 34 years with Metro, he has made a name for himself as a master of the corporate turnaround, closing underperforming stores, shuffling the executive team, and selling off the company’s professional services division. Unlike many of his peers, he skipped university, working his way up the retail ladder since he started making deliveries on his bike for a Montreal corner store. Sawyer’s  familiarity with the idiom of the local store has given him an edge in negotiating with owner-operators frustrated by what they see as the high cost of RONA merchandise and corporate inefficiency. Report on Business magazine profiled Sawyer in The Globe and Mail.