ZAANDAM, Netherlands — Dick Boer, chief executive officer of Ahold Delhaize, will retire July 1. He will be succeeded by Frans Muller, who currently is deputy CEO and chief integration officer. Together, the two executives were co-architects of the merger of the two international grocers in 2016.
“We thank Dick for his leadership and dedication throughout his 20-year career at Ahold Delhaize and Ahold,” said Mats Jansson, who was chairman of the supervisory board at the time of the announcement. “Dick’s accomplishments include the successful repositioning of Albert Heijn to market leadership, strategically building Ahold’s portfolio into brands with No. 1 and No. 2 positions in the markets they serve, and introducing digital, e-commerce and sustainability as integrated parts of the business.
“Dick has role-modeled 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 a historic merger. With this merger now being substantially completed, Ahold Delhaize is ready to move into its next phase.”
In addition to serving as deputy CEO and chief integration officer since July 2016, Muller was interim head of Delhaize America from October 2016 to January 2018, when the two U.S. segments were combined as Ahold Delhaize USA and Kevin Holt was appointed CEO of the newly combined U.S. businesses. Prior to the merger, Muller was president and CEO of Delhaize Group from 2013. Before joining Delhaize, he served on the board of Germany’s largest retailer, Metro AG, for seven years and was CEO of the Metro Cash & Carry division for five years.
“Together with Dick, Frans was instrumental in bringing together Ahold and Delhaize Group,” Jansson added. “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 that 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.”
Boer will work closely with Muller to ensure a smooth transition and will remain available as an advisor to the company until mid-2019.
In addition to their collaboration in creating one of the top 10 global retailers and forging a strategy dubbed Better Together, both Boer and Muller had guided their respective companies through difficult challenges in the years prior to the merger.
“It has been a privilege to lead Ahold Delhaize and to work with so many talented colleagues, serving customers around the globe,” said Boer. “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, whom I have come to know as a talented leader.”
The Better Together strategy was devised to allow the Ahold and Delhaize banners to take advantage of their local equity and customer expertise while giving them access to the substantial resources of the combined company. The new entity comprises some 6,500 stores under 21 banners across three continents, generating 2017 sales of 62.9 billion euros (approximately $70.92 billion). Combined pro forma sales of Ahold USA and Delhaize America totaled $43.19 billion.
“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,” said Muller. “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 on our promises to be a better place to shop, better place to work and better neighbor.”
In addition to the CEO transition, Jansson retired from the company’s supervisory board after its annual general meeting on April 11. He has been succeeded by Jan Hommen, who had been vice chairman since July 2016.