Delhaize Group has appointed former Metro AG executive Frans Muller as chief executive officer and plans to phase out the CEO position at Delhaize America.

Delhaize Group, Delhaize America, Frans Muller, Roland Smith, Pierre-Olivier Beckers, Mats Jansson, Metro AG, Metro Cash & Carry, food retailer, Food Lion, Hannaford, supermarket chains, Bi-Lo

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Delhaize names new CEO, cuts U.S. CEO post

September 4th, 2013

BRUSSELS, Belgium – Delhaize Group has appointed former Metro AG executive Frans Muller as chief executive officer and plans to phase out the CEO position at Delhaize America.

The global food retailer said Wednesday that Muller is slated to join the company on Oct. 14 and then take the helm as CEO on Nov. 8. He succeeds Pierre-Olivier Beckers, who will remain as an adviser to the CEO until the end of the year and, thereafter, continue to serve on the board in a nonexecutive role.

"Frans has the right mix of experience and skills to lead our company into the future, and we are pleased to welcome him to Delhaize Group," stated Mats Jansson, chairman of the Delhaize Group board. "He brings a deep understanding of global food retailing, and we are impressed by his international perspective, operational expertise and proven ability to grow businesses."

Delhaize Group also announced that Roland Smith is resigning as CEO of Delhaize America, effective immediately. Plans call for Smith to be available as a senior adviser to the Delhaize Group CEO until the year's end. After his departure, Delhaize's U.S. operations will report to the Delhaize Group CEO, the company said.

Delhaize America's supermarket chains include Food Lion, Hannaford, Harveys Supermarkets, Sweet Bay Supermarkets and Bottom Dollar Food. The unit has over 1,550 stores on the East Coast and accounted for 64% ($18.8 billion) of Delhaize Group's revenue last year. In late May, Bi-Lo Holdings agreed to acquire the Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid’s supermarket chains from Delhaizein $265 million deal expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

"Our U.S. business continues to deliver positive results, and we have a solid foundation upon which to build. There is a strong leadership team in place, and we look forward to further progress in the U.S.," Beckers said in a statement. "I want to thank Roland for his significant contributions to the success of Delhaize America, particularly the energy and focus he brought to the business. I am pleased that he will be available as a senior adviser to the CEO until the end of the year."

The 52-year-old Muller brings to Delhaize more than 15 years of senior retail leadership experience, including management of global organizations. Most recently, he served as a member of the management board of German retailer Metro AG and as CEO of Metro Cash & Carry, overseeing 740 stores in 29 countries.

"I am very enthusiastic to join Delhaize Group. The company is on track with its strategic priorities for the year and is focused on the areas that deliver the highest growth and returns," Muller stated. "I am looking forward to leading the company, working with the executive committee and 160,000 Delhaize associates to build on the company's current momentum."

Beckers commented, "I am delighted to welcome Frans to the Group. He has all the qualities to lead the company to the next level of its development, and I look forward to working with him to ensure a smooth transition."

Overall, Delhaize Group has 3,455 stores in 10 countries on three continents, including North America, Western and Southeastern Europe, and Southeast Asia. Last year, the company generated total sales of $27 billion.

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