(Dec. 11) After nearly a four-year stint as Wal-Mart’s vice president of global procurement for food, Wayne McKnight is returning to Canada in early 2008.

McKnight — who started in his position at Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in 2004 — has not identified what his plans are when he leaves his Wal-Mart post on Feb. 1 and heads back to Canada, a Wal-Mart source said.

Danny Dempster, president of the Ottawa-based Canadian Produce Marketing Association, said it is likely McKnight — a 32-year industry veteran — will resurface in the Canadian produce business, where the bulk of his industry service has been.

“I would expect so, given that’s been his lifetime work and passion,” Dempster said of McKnight, who has been a CPMA board member since the early 1990s, most recently serving as chairman in 2004-05. “Perhaps some form of consulting capacity, or aligned with another company, but that’s all speculation.”

McKnight joined Wal-Mart in his newly-created position, after serving as vice president of produce and floral at Toronto-based Sobeys Inc. for several years.

Born in New Brunswick, he entered the produce industry in 1975, and proceeded to work for various companies, including Co-op Atlantic, a Moncton, New Brunswick-based retailer, and Agora Food Merchants, Etobicoke, Ontario. He joined Toronto-based Oshawa Group Ltd. in 1998, which Sobeys purchased a few months after he started.