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Delhaize appoints new CEO, Roland Smith resigns

Delhaize Group, a Belgian international food retailer, has appointed Frans Muller as chief executive officer, effective Nov. 8. The company also announced that Roland Smith is resigning today from his role as CEO of Delhaize America.

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, Muller will join the company on Oct. 14, prior to assuming the role of CEO.

Muller, 52, has more than 15 years of senior leadership experience in retail and brings to Delhaize Group a strong track record of managing complex, global organizations. Most recently, Muller served as a 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. His extensive operational experience, from supply chain management to procurement, and proven ability to drive growth will be critical to Delhaize Group’s continued momentum.

“Frans has the right mix of experience and skills to lead our company into the future and we are pleased to welcome him to Delhaize Group," Mats Jansson, chairman of the board of directors, said in a press release. "He brings a deep understanding of global food retailing and we are impressed by his international perspective, operational expertise, and proven ability to grow businesses.”

“I am very enthusiastic to join Delhaize Group," Muller said in the release. "The company is on track with its strategic priorities for the year and is focused on the areas that deliver the highest growth and returns. I am looking forward to leading the company, working with the Executive Committee and 160,000 Delhaize associates to build on the company’s current momentum.”

“I am delighted to welcome Frans to the Group," Beckers said. "He has all the qualities to lead the company to the next level of its development and I look forward to working with him to ensure a smooth transition."

Delhaize Group 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 Smith’s departure, the company’s U.S. operations will report to the Delhaize Group CEO.

Of Smith's departure, Beckers said, “Our U.S. business continues to deliver positive results and we have a solid foundation upon which to build. There is a strong leadership team in place and we look forward to further progress in the U.S. I want to thank Roland for his significant contributions to the success of Delhaize America, particularly the energy and focus he brought to the business. I am pleased that he will be available as a senior advisor to the CEO until the end of the year.”