Zaandam, the Netherlands, January 17, 2022 – Today, Natalia Wallenberg will begin her new role as CHRO of Ahold Delhaize and a member of the Executive Committee. Natalia is an experienced international HR leader with a strong track record in developing and implementing effective strategies, leadership and culture development, organization transformation and talent- management. She comes from Syngenta Group, a global agricultural technology business with more than 49,000 associates, working across 90 geographic markets, generating $23 billion in sales. Her appointment was announced on 30 September 2021.
As an introduction, please find a brief interview with Natalia below.
Q: Could you share a bit more about your professional background?
A: I studied to be a psychologist because I wanted to help people live happier and more fulfilling lives. Professionally I have always been in HR, but always in different industries and on different scales: family business, real estate development (IKEA), investment banking (Renaissance Capital), agriculture technology (Syngenta), and now food retail. I have lived and worked in Belarus, Russia, UAE, Switzerland, the United States, and have always enjoyed the diversity of cultures and life experiences this gave me and my family.
Q: You have a fresh take on things as a new HR leader, what is your view on the human resources policy of Ahold Delhaize?
A: I think we have great foundations and cultures that enable growth. We are focusing on the right things – associate engagement, taking care and providing support to our colleagues during the Covid-19 pandemic, talent development, D&I efforts, attracting and hiring outstanding talent, evolving our technology and data landscape. HR plays a key role in ensuring we develop our talent, advocate for our culture and take good care of our associates and the communities we serve.
In my introductions I have met some incredibly talented, creative and curious colleagues. I look forward to further getting to know the team and working together to shape our priorities to support Ahold Delhaize and our great local brands.
Q: Diversity and inclusion is an important strategic topic for Ahold Delhaize. What is your experience and view on this topic?
A: Diversity and inclusion are vital to business success because they enable innovation, collaboration, problem-solving and ultimately better results. It also helps us to better relate to our customers who are extremely diverse and who also come to shop in our stores or online platforms with their various backgrounds and experiences looking to be understood, respected, and served at the best level possible.
For a more equitable and peaceful world, D&I is critical. Of the many things Covid-19 has highlighted in the last two years, we’ve seen how important equity is. As a large organization, so involved in local communities, as a leading local place to shop, we have the opportunity to influence the world around us by promoting inclusion, equity, and diversity in our communities for a better and kinder world.
D&I has been a passion of mine in every organization I’ve worked in, and generally in life. The goal is to create a workplace where everyone feels valued and included, where everyone can be the best version of themselves, where we can all learn and grow, and solve various problems better thanks to the diverse perspectives and experiences of our colleagues. To achieve this goal is not a simple task. It will require leadership and commitment from all our associates. However, I am confident that together with our great local brands we will be able to explore and find the best ways to do so and ultimately achieve our ambition on diversity and inclusion.
Q: In your opinion, what are the key fields HR should be focused on for the next year(s) to come?
A: There will be many things that we will focus on, but if I were to pick the top three, I would say:
All of these of course will have to be underpinned by our unique culture and our determined focus on caring for the health, safety, and wellbeing of our associates.
Q: What is your purpose as a leader?
A: To secure a healthy future for the organization and our associates. And on a broader scale, leave the world and planet as a better place for the generations to come.