Zaandam, the Netherlands – Ahold and Executive Committee member Sander van der Laan (46) have mutually agreed that Sander will step down as of February 1, 2015. Wouter Kolk, currently Executive Vice President Specialty Stores and New Markets at Albert Heijn, is the intended successor of Sander van der Laan as CEO of Albert Heijn, and as Executive Committee member at Ahold.
Sander van der Laan has had an extensive and successful 16-year career at Ahold, having first joined the company in 1998 as a Unit Manager for Albert Heijn. In 2002, Sander was appointed General Manager of Gall & Gall. In 2003, he became a member of the Albert Heijn Executive Team, responsible for Marketing & Merchandising as Commercial Director. In 2008, Sander relocated to the United States and was appointed President and CEO of Giant Carlisle. After his return to the Netherlands in 2010, he became responsible for Albert Heijn as CEO.
Dick Boer, Ahold CEO, said: “On behalf of our Executive Committee, I would like to thank Sander for his outstanding service and greatly valued contributions to our company. 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.”
Sander van der Laan said: “I am very grateful to Ahold for all of the professional opportunities offered to me over the years. 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.”
Wouter Kolk (48) re-joined Ahold in 2013 as EVP Specialty Stores and New Markets at Albert Heijn, following a successful six-year career as CEO of international retailer WE Fashion. He first started at Ahold in 1991, and over the next 16 years was successful in several commercial and operational management roles, including Commercial Director Asia-Pacific based in Singapore, Regional Director Albert Heijn, General Manager Gall & Gall, and, until 2007, General Manager of Etos.
Dick Boer continued: “Albert Heijn’s brand equity and heritage, our position in society, and our relationship with millions of loyal customers are key elements that make the company one of the best-run supermarkets in the industry. I am pleased that Wouter comes from within our own organization. He is an experienced leader with a strong track record throughout our company.”
Rob van den Bergh, Chairman of Ahold’s Supervisory Board, said: "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. 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.”
This press release includes forward-looking statements, which do not refer to historical facts but refer to expectations based on management's current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those included in such statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Many of these risks and uncertainties relate to factors that are beyond Ahold's ability to control or estimate precisely, such as discussed in Ahold's public filings and other disclosures. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Koninklijke Ahold N.V. does not assume any obligation to update any public information or forward-looking statements in this release to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as may be required by law. Outside the Netherlands, Koninklijke Ahold N.V., being its registered name, presents itself under the name of "Royal Ahold" or simply "Ahold".