Under pressure, Ahold names new Albert Heijn chief
Ahold has announced a transfer of leadership, with Wouter Kolk named the new CEO of Albert Heijn and Executive Committee member at Ahold, the company said in a statement
Ahold reached a mutual agreement with current Albert Heijn CEO Sander van der Laan that he will vacate his position from February 1. His replacement currently holds the position of Executive Vice President - Specialty Stores and New Markets at Albert Heijn.
Grocery store retailer Albert Heijn's position as market leader in the Netherlands has been under attack from several competitors, primarily Jumbo. By purchasing more locations, Jumbo saw a revenue increase last year of about 25 percent, and has taken about a fifth of the Dutch market, reports the Volkskrant.
Albert Heijn is one of six brands owned by Netherlands-based Ahold. The food and grocery retailer has 930 owned and franchise locations across the country.
Ahold CEO Dick Boer described Kolk as "an experienced leader with a strong track record throughout our company," in a company statement. He says he is pleased that the new director comes from within the Ahold organization.
Boer also heaped praise on outgoing chief Van der Laan, saying, "Under his leadership, Albert Heijn introduced iconic and award-winning commercial campaigns that were much appreciated by our customers. In addition, Albert Heijn developed into a multi-channel brand, and successfully expanded into new geographies. We wish Sander all the best for the future."
In the same statement, van der Laan said he is "grateful to Ahold for all of the professional opportunities" made available to him.