- Ahold Delhaize announced Monday that Jan Ernst de Groot, the company’s chief legal officer and chief sustainability officer, will retire on May 31, 2024.
- Linn Evans, currently chief legal officer and general counsel at Ahold Delhaize USA, will fill the chief legal officer role on April 15, 2024, per the announcement.
- Following de Groot’s exit, the grocer plans to create a dedicated sustainability role on its executive committee.
One year after naming its first chief sustainability officer, Ahold Delhaize is now preparing to find a new leader to advance its sustainability efforts.
President and CEO of Ahold Delhaize Frans Muller praised de Groot’s job performance, especially signaling out the sustainability role: “With his passion and strategic insight, he has brought structure to our ambition on Sustainability, underpinning our thought leadership and performance in this area.”
Ahold Delhaize said in the Monday announcement that the appointment of de Groot to the new sustainability role signaled how sustainability “had become of such strategic importance” at the company to warrant executive committee-level representation.
Ahold Delhaize also has a health and sustainability committee, which advises the company’s supervisory board on long-term vision, strategy and target setting as well as monitors performance on those targets.
Ahold Delhaize named de Groot as its first chief sustainability officer in August 2022, noting that de Groot would head up the company’s Environmental Social Governance (ESG) work in the newly created position while also retaining his role as chief legal officer for the grocery company.
During de Groot’s time in the newly created role, Ahold Delhaize saw several sustainability efforts across its banners, including the deployment of fully electric vehicles in the Giant Delivers fleet, improvement of Ahold Delhaize’s food waste reduction and closure of a €1.5 billion ($1.6 billion) revolving credit facility linked to its sustainability objectives. In November 2022, Ahold Delhaize updated its CO2 emissions reduction target, pledging to reduce Scope 3 emissions by at least 37% by 2030.
De Groot took over direct responsibility for overseeing the company’s climate change agenda from Muller, per Ahold Delhaize’s annual report for 2022.
De Groot held executive- and board-level roles at companies including TNT Express and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines before stepping into the role of chief legal officer at Ahold Group in 2015 — a role he retained after the company’s merger with Delhaize Group in 2016, forming Ahold Delhaize.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Ahold Delhaize, a food retailer that is truly at the heart of society. I feel that the time is right to step back after more than nine years, during which the company has developed into a strong organization that is providing consistent value for all stakeholders while taking on the ambition of leading the transition to a sustainable food system,” de Groot said in a statement.
Linn has more than 32 years of legal experience and joined the Ahold Delhaize family of companies in 1998 as a senior attorney at Food Lion.
Ahold Delhaize said on Monday that it has started the selection process for its next chief sustainability officer.