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Safeway has elaborated on its response to ongoing efforts by shareholders to force the ouster of the company's CEO, Steve Burd, as well as several members of its board.

Numerous public pension funds - including, most recently, Calpers, which represents California public employees and is the largest U.S. public pension fund - have been driving the movement, and the company has charged that these funds are beholden to organized labor, which has always had a fractious relationship with the company.

In a prepared statement, Safeway spokesman Brian Dowling said:

    "Safeway is in the midst of executing a well-defined strategy to differentiate itself from the competition and grow the business for shareholders, employees and customers. The company has acted decisively in times of challenge, aggressively reinvests in its stores, and has a sound vision for the future, which is fully supported by Safeway's Board of Directors.

    "Furthermore, Safeway is firmly committed to the highest standards of corporate governance, and has an ongoing process to listen to shareholders.

    "Calpers decision overlooks the facts about Safeway's performance. Over the last 11 years the company's share price has outperformed the entire retail sector. In fact, since 1992 investors have seen an eight-fold increase in Safeway's share price. The company's more recent stock price performance is in line with the rest of the supermarket sector, which has been under pressure from non-union discounters and a weak economy."
KC's View:
At the end of the day, here's the question we would ask.

Is Safeway committed to the highest standards of serving its customers in the stores, of creating a differentiated, compelling shopping experience that will serve as a magnet to shoppers?

Because that's how we would judge management.