Inside This Issue - News
Top ranks are recast at Delhaize
September 23rd, 2013
BRUSSELS – Delhaize Group shook up its management ranks earlier this month, announcing the appointment of a new chief executive officer and the resignation of the head of its U.S. operations.
Frans Muller, a 52-year-old former Metro AG executive, has been named to succeed Pierre-Olivier Beckers as Delhaize’s CEO. He will join the company on October 14 and will take over as its top executive on November 8.
Beckers will remain available to advise Muller until the end of the year and will continue to serve on Delhaize’s board of directors 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," chairman Mats Jansson said. "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."
Muller comes to Delhaize after more than 15 years in food retailing, including the past 11 years with Metro, where he had been chief executive officer since 2008.
"I am very enthusiastic to join Delhaize Group," he said. "The company is on track with its strategic priorities and is focused on the areas that deliver the highest growth and returns."
Meanwhile, Delhaize America’s CEO, Roland Smith, abruptly resigned earlier this month. He did not provide any reasons for his departure from a position he had held for less than a year.
Delhaize said Smith will continue to be available as a "senior adviser" for the rest of the year.
Going forward, the heads of Delhaize’s various U.S. operations will report directly to Muller.
"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," Beckers said in the wake of the announcement that Smith was stepping down.
Smith’s departure was the latest development in what industry watchers say has been a tumultuous year for Delhaize’s U.S. operations — especially its Food Lion chain, which has been plagued with lagging sales and profits .
This year Food Lion cut 500 corporate jobs, and Delhaize sold 155 Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid’s supermarkets to Bi-Lo LLC.
In 2012, Food Lion closed 113 underperforming stores and shuttered its Bloom locations.
"We just have to get better, and we have to do it every day," Food Lion CEO Beth Newlands Campbell recently told the Charlotte Observer.