// . //  The Alumni Network //  Ryan Markle

Our alumni team sat down with former Toronto Partner Ryan Markle to discuss his career journey and learnings from his time at Oliver Wyman. Now leading Canada’s largest loyalty program, PC Optimum, Ryan has made a significant impact on the strategy for George Weston Limited — owner of Canada’s largest supermarket retailer — and its subsidiaries.

Tell us about what you’ve been doing since you left Oliver Wyman.

After leaving Oliver Wyman, I joined George Weston Limited as vice president of strategy and corporate development. George Weston Limited is a Canadian holding company whose main holdings are Loblaw and Shoppers Drug Mart (Canada’s biggest grocery and pharmacy retailers), Choice Properties (Canada’s largest real estate investment trust), and formerly Weston Foods. We’re also the largest private employer in Canada, with over 200,000 employees. My role involved strategic work across our portfolio and overseeing all mergers and acquisitions activities. I led acquisitions valued at over six billion dollars, established an in-house venture capital arm, and initiated investments.

After seven years, I transitioned to Loblaw as head of strategy, working with the C-suite on a strategic review to identify areas for enhancement, maintenance, or divestiture. One key recommendation was to focus on our loyalty program, PC Optimum, the largest one in the country. I was subsequently asked to lead that team as senior vice president of loyalty.

What skills did you acquire at Oliver Wyman that have helped you the most?

What’s great about consulting is you learn valuable skills in understanding and framing problems — how to give structure to an unstructured challenge — and how to work through them, regardless of the industry or subject matter. You gain two key skillsets: mechanical skills for problem-solving and strategic thinking, and domain expertise for deep industry knowledge. Both are invaluable for your career. Oliver Wyman also excels in training effective communication skills, which I advocated for at George Weston. Understanding where to focus for the largest impact is another critical skill I developed in consulting, helping me filter out noise and concentrate on high-impact actions.

Describe your time at Oliver Wyman in three words.

Fun. Challenging. Friendship.

What advice do you have for current consultants at Oliver Wyman?

Try as much as you can while you’re at the firm. Although specializing early can be beneficial, gaining a breadth of experiences and working with a variety of clients will be invaluable in your long-term career. I explored several industries early on before specializing in energy, which was immensely beneficial.

Also, build connections within your office and with new partners and colleagues on projects. These relationships can be invaluable as you progress in your career. For example, a former Oliver Wyman colleague connected me with George Weston Limited. Our colleagues are high performers, and their networks can help you build your own.

This page was originally published on July 3, 2024.