Delhaize announced today that it has appointed Frans Muller as Chief Executive Officer, effective 8 November 2013. Mr. Muller will succeed Pierre-Olivier Beckers, who will remain available to advise the new CEO until year-end and continue to serve on the Board of Directors in a non-executive capacity thereafter. In order to ensure a seamless transition, Mr. Muller will join the company on 14 October 2013, prior to assuming the role of CEO.
Frans Muller, 52, has more than 15 years of senior leadership experience in retail. Most recently, Mr. Muller served as Member of the Management Board of Metro AG, an international retailing company, and CEO of Metro Cash & Carry, with direct responsibility for approximately 740 stores in 29 countries and sales of € 31.6 billion.
Delhaize also announced that Roland Smith is resigning today from his role as CEO of Delhaize America but will be available as a senior advisor to the CEO until the end of the year. Following Mr. Smith’s departure, the company’s U.S. operations will report to the Delhaize Group CEO.
We have mixed feelings about the news because Roland Smith has done an excellent job in the US which continues to be Delhaize’s main activity. Moreover, the turnaround of Food Lion is far from accomplished and Bottom Dollar is still loss-making. The press release mentions that the US operations will report to Mr Muller. We would prefer to see a US manager who’s on the field.