Canadian Produce Marketing Association convention delegates will learn the secrets of success of one of Canada’s highest profile companies — Wal-Mart Canada Corp. — when former chief executive officer Mario Pilozzi takes the stage at the April 18 breakfast session.

Pilozzi is also known for his informative, no-holds-barred question-and-answer sessions for those who want to learn how Wal-Mart works so that they can apply those lessons to their own organizations.

He and his management staff turned a fledgling chain into a powerhouse that now serves more than a million customers a day with 85,000 associates and more than 330 stores across the country.

Pilozzi joined Wal-Mart in 1994 when it bought 122 Woolco stores from Woolworth Canada to establish its presence in Canada.

He started out as vice president of hardline merchandise and was promoted to senior vice president of merchandise and sales, and later chief operating officer, before serving as president and CEO for seven years, stepping down in 2008.

Before joining Wal-Mart, Pilozzi spent more than 30 years working for Woolworth Canada.

The son of an immigrant family began his career stocking shelves at Woolworths in Montreal. He was a senior vice president when Wal-Mart arrived.

Wal-Mart’s arrival changed Canadian retail forever and opened the door for other big box stores.

Among his many achievements, Pilozzi championed the company’s groundbreaking environmental sustainability program in Canada.

He has received numerous awards and honors including Distinguished Canadian Retailer of the Year, induction into the Canadian Retail Hall of Fame and the Sam M. Walton Entrepreneur of the Year award, Wal-Mart’s highest honour.

Toronto-based Pilozzi has also served on the board of directors of Protenergy Natural Foods Corp., a manufacturer of natural food and beverage products, and on the board of beverage giant Cott Corp.

During his presentation, he will share his business experience, what it takes to operate in a fast-paced and competitive environment.

Come prepared with questions as this will be an interactive presentation.