TORONTO, April 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Maple Leaf Foods announced today that James P. Olson has been nominated to join the board as an independent director and will stand for election at the Company's Annual General Meeting on April 28, 2011. He was identified through an independent global search firm retained by the board, and brings a strong mix of skills and experience. "We are very pleased to nominate James Olson to the board," said James Hankinson, Chair of the Company's Governance Committee. He brings to the board global experience in the consumer packaged goods industry. His nomination reflects our commitment to board renewal, strengthened by independent directors who bring diverse skills and a deep commitment to good governance." Mr. Olson has over 35 years experience in the food and beverage industry in North American and international markets. His accomplishments include evaluating and integrating acquisitions, supply chain optimization, business reorganization, manufacturing plant start-ups and labour relations. From 2002 to 2006 he was Senior Vice President of Operations for PepsiCo International responsible for their operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Prior to this he was Vice President Operations for E&J Gallo Winery, with responsibility for all aspects of procurement, production and customer service. Additionally, from 1990 to 1992 he was Vice President of Operations for Frito-Lay International in Canada, the UK and Latin America. Mr. Olson has been a director of Winn-Dixie Stores, a large U.S. grocery retailer, since 2007, where he serves on the Compensation and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committees. Maple Leaf Foods has 14 directors (including Mr. Olson), 11 of whom are considered independent as defined by securities regulations. Shareholders will vote on the slate of directors at the upcoming Annual General Meeting. For further information, shareholders are encouraged to read the 2011 Management Proxy Circular which is available on SEDAR and under the Investor Relations menu at www.mapleleaf.com . Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a leading food processing company, headquartered in Toronto, Canada. The Company employs approximately 21,000 people at its operations across Canada and in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Asia. The Company had sales of $5.0 billion in 2010.