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Ahold Delhaize’s Chief Legal Officer/Chief Sustainability Officer to Retire

Company names Linn Evans next chief legal officer while searching for new chief sustainability officer
 Ahold Delhaize Spends Big on Sustainability
Jan Ernst de Groot's 2022 appointment to the role of chief sustainability officer was evidence of the fact that sustainability had become of such strategic importance at Ahold Delhaize that it had to be represented at executive committee level.

Ahold Delhaize has revealed that Jan Ernst de Groot, the company’s chief legal officer (CLO) and chief sustainability officer, has decided to retire, effective May 31, 2024. Having come to the grocery conglomerate after holding executive roles at such companies as TNT Express and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, de Groot started as CLO at Ahold Group in 2015. Following the merger of Ahold and Delhaize in 2016, he remained CLO for the combined company. In August 2022, he took on the additional position of Ahold Delhaize’s first chief sustainability officer – evidence of the fact that sustainability had become of such strategic importance at the company that it had to be represented at executive committee level. 

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Ahold Delhaize, a food retailer that is truly at the heart of society,” noted de Groot. “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. I am incredibly proud of what our teams have accomplished.”

[Read more: “Carbon-Cutting Refrigerants Are a Natural Fit for Grocers”]

“Jan Ernst has been a true partner, for the executive committee, and me personally, over the years,” said Ahold Delhaize President and CEO Frans Muller. “His strong sense of ethics helped guide us through some turbulent times, and with his counsel and judgment, I have always been confident that we were well equipped to handle the challenges that came our way. With his passion and strategic insight, he has brought structure to our ambition on sustainability, underpinning our thought leadership and performance in this area.”

The company has now decided to create a dedicated role for sustainability in the executive committee while it searches for a new chief sustainability officer. Meanwhile, Linn Evans, currently chief legal officer and general counsel at Ahold Delhaize USA, will succeed de Groot as chief legal officer of Ahold Delhaize, effective April 15, 2024.

Bringing to his latest position more than three decades of legal experience in a career mostly dedicated to grocery retail, Evans joined the Ahold Delhaize family of companies in 1998, beginning as a senior attorney at Food Lion, and has held legal leadership roles in each of the predecessor companies. Evans, a native of Salisbury, N.C., has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with distinction and a law degree with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as being a certified public accountant. He’s also a member of the North Carolina Bar Association, the Association of Corporate Counsel, and the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals. 

“We’re very happy to welcome Linn to the executive committee,” said Muller. “He has been with the Ahold Delhaize USA family of companies for a considerable amount of time, and brings a broad range of legal and retail expertise to the role. I have come to know Linn as a sharp thinker, solutions provider, and loyal and amiable colleague over the years and look forward to working with him in his new capacity.”

Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, operates more than 2,000 stores across 23 states and is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named the company one of its Retailers of the Century and its 10 Most Sustainable Grocers

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