Willard Garfield Weston

Willard Garfield Weston, food merchant, manufacturer (b at Toronto 26 Jan 1893; d there 22 Oct 1978). The son of biscuit manufacturer George Weston, he developed the family business into one of the largest food conglomerates in Canada. He became a VP of GEORGE WESTON LTD in 1921, and was elected president and general manager upon his father's death in 1924. By 1928 he had started the international expansion of the firm, first to the US in 1929, then in 1933 to the UK, where he soon became England's largest biscuit manufacturer. He moved to England in 1933 and was elected to the British House of Commons but never gave up his Canadian citizenship. The Weston conglomerate, now run by his sons W. Gordon Galen (b Eng 29 Oct 1940) and Garry (b 1927), controls retail and food manufacturing companies in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Germany and Ireland. Galen, who heads Canadian operations, used his own funds to build up a chain of supermarkets in Ireland while still in his twenties and became involved in real estate and department stores. After his father's death, Galen reorganized the conglomerate by restructuring the flagging Loblaws and pruning other operations. In 1986 Galen personally acquired Holt Renfrew & Company Ltd. Garry Weston is chairman and chief executive of Associated British Foods of the UK.