Ahold Names Wouter Kolk CEO of Albert Heijn
ZAANDAM, NETHERLANDS - Ahold's Netherlands-based Albert Heijin retail network made headlines this week after CEO Sander van der Laan announced his departure from the company. In his place, Ahold has named Executive Vice President of Specialty Stores and New Markets Wouter Kolk as the new acting CEO.
"On behalf of our Executive Committee, I would like to thank Sander for his outstanding service and greatly valued contributions to our company,” shared Dick Boer, Ahold CEO. “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 very best for the future."
"I am very grateful to Ahold for all of the professional opportunities offered to me over the years,” Van der Laan responded. “It has been a true privilege to work for this great company, with its highly motivated associates and strong customer base. I wish Wouter, the company and its associates all the very best."
"On behalf of the Supervisory Board, I would like to sincerely thank Sander for all his efforts and the strong contribution he has made to Ahold," added Rob van den Bergh, Chairman of Ahold's Supervisory Board. "We wish him well. Additionally, I would like to wish Wouter every success. We are confident that his skills, knowledge and expertise will be of great benefit to the company in the years to come."
Wouter takes his new position during a time of strength for Ahold. On the back of strong same-store performances from its United States Stop & Shop and Giant retail chains, Ahold enjoyed a 7.9% gain in Q4 net sales to $9.5 billion. According to Reuters, this performance exceeded the expectations of Wall Street investors who had only forcasted $9.30 billion for the retailer.
“In the United States, we were pleased with the progress of our program to improve our customer proposition, which was deployed to 523 stores by the end of the year,” the company shared in its release.
Some highlights from Ahold's financial report include:
- Net sales of €8.06 billion ($9.5 billion) compared to €7.47 billion from the same period last year.
- A 0.3% increase in same-store sales in U.S. stores, compared to a 0.2% decline from the same quarter last year.
- A 0.5% decline in net sales for Ahold's U.S. operations (after taking changing exchange rates into account).
- A 4.5% increase in sales for Ahold's Netherlands operations, fronted by Albert Heijin.
Stay tuned to AndNowUKnow as we continue to track Ahold's retail operations, both in the United States and throughout the rest of the globe.