Safeway (NYSE: SWY) announced Wednesday after market close that, after "an unprecedented 20 years at the helm," Chairman and CEO Steve Burd has decided to retire as CEO, and will also retire from Safeway's board of directors, effective May 14.

Safeway has not yet chosen a replacement, and says it will begin searching for a successor. Burd will assist in helping to find his replacement over the next four-and-a-half months.

In a statement praising Burd's performance as CEO, Safeway noted that over the past 20 years, Safeway shares outperformed the broader S&P 500. Indeed, since 1992, the stock produced returns roughly twice as great as those of the average S&P 500 stock.

Burd is also exiting on a high note, observing: "The Company is gaining market share with each passing quarter. We have developed the most sophisticated digital marketing platform in retail, we are implementing the most comprehensive and personalized fuel loyalty program, and we will be rolling out a wellness initiative that has the potential to transform the Company."