BRUSSELS, BELGIUM, 2 May 2013 -- Delhaize Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Maura Abeln Smith as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and General Secretary for Delhaize Group. Ms. Smith, formerly Executive Vice President, Government Affairs, General Counsel, and Secretary of PepsiCo, will become a member of the Delhaize Group Executive Committee and report directly to Pierre-Olivier Beckers, CEO of Delhaize Group. She will start effective May 2, 2013 and will lead the Group’s legal and government affairs functions, succeeding Michael Waller, who is retiring as scheduled.
“Michael will be missed. His mastery of the law, impeccable integrity, and skill at simplifying complex issues and identifying key strategic points, has made him a trusted advisor to both me and the Delhaize Group Board of Directors,” said Mr. Beckers. “I want to thank him for his significant contributions and wish him well in this next chapter of his life.”
“I am very pleased to have Maura join our Group and our Executive Committee,” said Mr. Beckers, “she brings deep legal and governmental affairs experience, a global perspective, and a wealth of knowledge in business transformation to our Group.”
Ms. Smith brings more than 30 years of corporate legal experience to the Group. Prior to joining PepsiCo, she served International Paper as the company’s Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary and head of Global Government Relations. During her eight-year tenure there she was instrumental in the company’s transformation into a global leader in the packaging and paper industry, helping to redeploy $11 billion of capital through a selective mixture of asset disposition and reinvestment.
She also spent five years at Owens Corning where she served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, and from 2000, she was also appointed Chief Restructuring Officer and a member of the Board of Directors. She advised the CEO and Board in addressing the legal and financial implications of the company’s asbestos litigation, and led the company’s reorganization efforts. Ms. Smith also worked at General Electric, in the GE Plastics Division, where she served as Vice President and General Counsel for nearly seven years. Prior to GE, she was a partner at the international law firm of Baker & McKenzie.
Ms. Smith graduated from Vassar College, in the United States, with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, earned with highest honors. She was also one of the first women awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, in the United Kingdom, where she earned an M.Phil. in economics. She then earned her J. D. with honors from University of Miami School of Law.
She and her family will be relocating to Brussels.
Mr. Waller has served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for the Company since 2001. During his tenure with Delhaize Group, he built the Group Legal function from scratch into the integrated global function it is today. He will stay on in his capacity as Executive Vice President of the Group through June 30 in order to facilitate a smooth transition for Ms. Smith into her new roles.