Ahold Delhaize’s Boer: ‘We need to be a local hero and a world player at the same time’
In his final annual meeting with shareholders on April 11, outgoing Ahold Delhaize CEO Dick Boer noted the success of the Zaandam, Netherlands-based retailer’s store brands. Boer is retiring on July 1 after 20 years at the company (seven as CEO) and will be replaced by Frans Muller.
“So why is Ahold Delhaize so well positioned for a successful future? By being and remaining the most local, reliable and personal retailer in a world that is forever accelerating,” Boer told shareholders. “We need to be a local hero and a world player at the same time. … That is what it is all about, and where it all started — with our excellent local brands on both sides of the Atlantic, and with more than 50 million customers per week.”
Ahold Delhaize operates Food Lion, Stop & Shop, Hannaford, Giant Martins, Giant Landover and Peapod in the United States. By 2020, Boer said Ahold Delhaize intends to have 50 percent of its own-brand sales coming from healthier products.
“We are the only retailer that dares to set a hard target of this kind,” he added. “Stop & Shop, Giant/Martin's and Peapod reduced the sugar content in their own-brand products by almost 1 million pounds last year.
Boer said Ahold Delhaize’s customers are increasingly looking for healthy products that are produced sustainably.
“As a retailer, we can help our customers out. Through our own-brand products, we are able to help our customers meet the growing demand for healthy options,” he said.
Boer said he “totally disagrees” with the people who say they do not see a future for physical stores.
“Because stores still matter — and that will be the case in the future, too. The more virtual the world becomes, the more need there is for the real world,” he said. “Because people are social animals. They like to meet other people. They like to be surprised and inspired. They like to touch, feel and smell new and fresh products. Of course, stores will need to change. We are therefore continuing to innovate and invest so they remain attractive and relevant to customers.”
Boer said he is “grateful for the wonderful years during which I have been able to head up this great company as its CEO.”