Changing Of The Guard At Ahold Delhaize: Muller To Succeed Boer As CEO On July 1

Ahold Delhaize announced earlier this month that Dick Boer will step down as CEO as of July 1, 2018 and retire from the company. Deputy chief executive Frans Muller has been appointed to replace Boer as the chief executive officer when Boer retires.

Mats Jansson, outgoing chairman of the supervisory board, said: “We thank Dick for his leadership and dedication throughout his 20-year career at Ahold Delhaize and Ahold. Dick’s accomplishments include the successful repositioning of Albert Heijn to market leadership, strategically building Ahold’s portfolio into brands with number one and two positions in the markets they serve, and introducing digital, eCommerce and sustainability as integrated parts of the business. Dick has role-modelled the values of our Better Together strategy, with his passion for retail, customers, associates and health. Under Dick’s leadership, two leading food retailers were brought together in an historic merger. With this merger now being substantially completed, Ahold Delhaize is now ready to move into its next phase.”

Jansson added: “Together with Dick, Frans was instrumental in bringing together Ahold and Delhaize Group. During the past two years he has been driving the integration process in close collaboration with our great local brands and support offices. Frans brings a wealth of retail experience and a deep knowledge of our company, brands and U.S. and European markets, making him the natural choice as next CEO. Frans is committed to the brand-centric operating model which is key to our strategy and has the customer at its core. We are confident that Frans is the right person to lead the company into its next phase.”

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Muller has more than 20 years of experience in retail and has served not only as deputy CEO but has been with international retailer’s chief integration officer of Ahold Delhaize since July 2016 when Ahold and Delhaize completed their merger announced a year earlier. Muller also led Delhaize America on an interim basis from October 2016 until January 2018. Prior to the merger between Ahold and Delhaize, he served as president and CEO of the Delhaize Group from 2013. Before joining the Delhaize Group, he served on the management board of German retailer Metro AG for seven years and was CEO of Metro Cash & Carry for five years.

Muller said, “I’m honored to be given the opportunity to lead this company with such powerful brands, incredible talent and long-term growth potential – a combination that sets us apart globally. Our success will be based upon delivering a great and seamless shopping experience for our customers, both in stores and online. Building on the solid foundations established under Dick’s leadership, we will continue to drive innovation and growth in stores and online as we execute our strategy and create value for all our stakeholders. My focus will be on delivering our promises to be a better place to shop, better place to work and better neighbor – every day.”

Boer commented, “It has been a privilege to lead Ahold Delhaize and to work with so many talented colleagues, serving customers around the globe. Today, our company is well-positioned for long-term growth, creating a natural moment for me to step down. I am proud of what we achieved together and it is my absolute pleasure to be handing the helm to Frans, who I have come to know as a talented leader. I wish him, the executive team and everyone at the company all the best for the future.”

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Boer will remain available as advisor to the company until mid-2019.

Ahold Delhaize also announced that Mats Jansson retired from the supervisory board after the AGM (annual meeting) on April 11, 2018. Jan Hommen has been appointed chairman of the supervisory board as of the same date. Supervisory board members Johnny Thijs and Patrick De Maeseneire have also stepped down from the supervisory board.

Jansson has been chairman of the supervisory board since the merger between Ahold and Delhaize Group in July 2016. Prior to that, he served as chairman of the board of directors of the Delhaize Group.

Jansson stated “I leave Ahold Delhaize knowing that the company is well positioned for the future. I thank my colleagues in the supervisory board and especially Jan Hommen, with whom I have had the privilege of working closely, both before and after completing the merger of two leading food retail companies. It makes me proud to see what the teams at Ahold Delhaize have accomplished in two years, with the integration fully on track. For me this proves that we truly are ‘Better Together.’ I also thank Johnny Thijs and Patrick De Maeseneire for their valuable contributions during their terms at Ahold Delhaize and Delhaize Group.”

Hommen has been vice chairman of the supervisory board since July 2016. Prior to the merger, Hommen served as chairman of Ahold’s supervisory board since 2013.

Hommen stated, “The leadership of Mats has been instrumental in successfully bringing Ahold and Delhaize Group together and delivering on our promises to our stakeholders. As a supervisory board, we are grateful for his commitment and strong support to the leadership team in delivering a successful integration. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the board and with the new CEO Frans Muller and his team.”

The supervisory board has appointed Bill McEwan as vice chairman, succeeding Hommen.

In related news concerning its Giant/Martin’s division, Ahold Delhaize announced earlier this month that it plans a major capital improvement program at 13 of its Pennsylvania stores. The Carlisle, PA-based “brand” of Ahold Delhaize USA said it will construct six new stores, remodel two locations, and open five new fuel stations in Pennsylvania totaling a $70 million capital investment over the next two years. As part of its growth strategy, the company noted that it plans to enter the East Stroudsburg and Walnutport communities for the first time.

“We are positioning the company for long-term growth, and we are excited to grow our presence within East Stroudsburg and Walnutport to better serve the families in those communities,” said Nicholas Bertram, Giant president. “This year Giant is celebrating our founding in Pennsylvania 95 years ago, so we’re especially proud to make these new investments in our home state.”

The East Stroudsburg store at 300 Lincoln Avenue and the Walnutport store at 300 S. Best Avenue are both anticipated to open in 2019. Both locations will include new fuel stations.

The other four new stores include: 176 West Street Road, Feasterville-Trevose, which replaces the store at 1055 Bustleton Pike and is anticipated to open in the summer 2018; 2121 South Atherton Street, State College will replace the store at 2222 East College Avenue and is anticipated to open in late 2018/early 2019; 1661 Easton Road, Warrington, which replaces the store at 2395 York Road, Jamison; and is anticipated to open in early 2019; West Chester Pike & Route 476, Broomall which replaces the store at 2910 Springfield Road and is anticipated to open in late 2019. Additionally, two other store remodels are targeted for Giants stores at 14635 Mt. Airy Road, Shrewsbury (including a 4,000 square-foot expansion; and 698 Downingtown Pike, West Chester. The new remodels will feature broader variety and a product assortment that is relevant to customers in each store, such as more local products, a deeper assortment of natural and organic selections and healthier snack options. Each remodel will bring a freshly designed layout that the retailer said will make it easier to navigate and shop, so customers can get in and out of the store quickly.

In addition to the construction of new stores, three new fuel stations will be built to serve s in the existing Pennsylvania locations of Lititz, Horsham, and Bethlehem at these specific addresses: 825 Lititz Pike, Lititz; 314 Horsham Road, Horsham; and 2182 W. Union Blvd., Bethlehem. Following completion of construction within the year, the company will operate 103 fuel stations. Giant projects that these new projects will bring approximately 300 additional jobs to these communities through the hiring of full-time and part-time associates.

This investment announcement follows the February completion of a new Peapod wareroom opened in partnership with Giant in North Coventry, PA. The wareroom opening was in response to delivery and pickup demand and it will enable Peapod and the Carlisle, PA-based merchant to serve up to 25 percent more shoppers in the greater Philadelphia area. Peapod said it has experienced double digit growth in the Philadelphia region for the last three consecutive years. Giant noted this investment is an addition to its ongoing capital spending in beer & wine eateries that the retailer began in 2011 and now number 59 in the Keystone State.

Giant is also extending its investment to fighting child hunger in local Pennsylvania communities. The grocer has committed $1 million over two years to Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley. Central Pennsylvania Food Bank will receive an $800,000 grant to accelerate its multipronged approach to address the issue of food insecurity among children and their families, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley will receive $216,000 to expand its Backpack Buddies program.

“As we announce a significant investment in our store fleet to better serve our customers, we are also committed to help our regional food bank partners to better serve the communities we share,” continued Bertram. “Together, we can expand access to healthier, fresher food so those in need can nourish their families and meet basic needs to help them get back on their feet.”