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Former cabinet minister David Emerson is seen in this 2008 file photo.

DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is nominating former federal cabinet minister David Emerson to its board of directors to replace longtime board member Purdy Crawford.

The company says Mr. Emerson's nomination will be voted on at its annual general meeting on May 2.

If the vote is successful, Maple Leaf plans to appoint him as chairman to replace Mr. Crawford, who plans to retire after the meeting.

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Mr. Crawford took over as temporary chairman from Wallace McCain, who died in May at age 81 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Maple Leaf also plans to shrink the size of its board from 13 to 10 directors, with eight of 10 of those members being independent.

The changes come nearly two years after activist shareholder West Face Capital pushed for a board shakeup amid questions of whether its members were independent enough from McCain family.

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