Wouter Kolk, European chief executive of Ahold Delhaize, wants to achieve more as a group: Albert Heijn, Delhaize and bol.com need to team up if they wish to remain competitive, according to the CEO.
Scale of the group
Ahold Delhaize wants to take full advantage of the size of the group, says Wouter Kolk, chief executive for Europe and Indonesia in an interview with Het Parool, a regional Dutch newspaper. The CEO used to be too preoccupied with “the individual success of the brands“, but that inhibited growth. “I have to focus more on the scale advantage we have as a group. To compete with brands such as Lidl and Amazon, the brands within Ahold Delhaize must work together to develop new products and services”.
For example, more use could be made of bol.com’s online services, as online sales have increased by sixty per cent across the board since the corona pandemic. Another example is the Nutri-Score, which Delhaize rolled out in collaboration with the Belgian government. Kolk suggests that the system of providing food scores based on healthiness could come to Albert Heijn in the Netherlands: “No need for Albert Heijn to reinvent that wheel”.
Men still in the majority
When it comes to diversity, Kolk realises that there is still work to be done. However, the stores themselves represent “a good cross-section of society”. At the head offices, on the other hand, men are in the majority. According to the CEO, the problem lies in a lack of talent at that level: Ahold Delhaize calls itself a breeding ground, in which future managers mainly have to train themselves.
However, the company is having a difficult time with the trend of adopting social statements and being ‘activist’. As a supermarket, you want to be there for everyone, and neither religion nor politics are part of that. This is ingrained in Albert Heijn’s DNA. By standing for something, you also stand against something else, Kolk fears. AH standing for something is not to be expected any time soon.