Albert Heijn, former president of the Ahold’s corporate executive board and member of the retail conglomerate’s supervisory board, died Jan. 13 at Pudleston Court, his home in the United Kingdom. Heijn was 83 years old.
A grandson of the Albert Heijn who founded his namesake supermarket business back in 1887, Heijn joined the company in 1949 and worked his way up to became president of the executive board in 1962. With his brother Gerrit-Jan, who died in 1987, Heijn transformed the company from a Dutch supermarket chain into a major international food retailing group. Following his retirement in 1989, he stayed involved in Ahold, the holding company formed in 1973, as a member of the supervisory board until 1997.
Among Heijn’s industry innovations were introducing the first full-service grocery stores in the Netherlands, making available a much broader product selection to the Dutch public than had been seen before, and helping to establish a uniform bar code that is still the global standard.
“Albert Heijn was a remarkable man,” said Ahold CEO John Rishton. “He was a spirited entrepreneur whose vision has helped shape the global food industry. He was a warm and charismatic leader who was passionate about people -- both those who worked for the company and all who shopped at our stores. My thoughts, and those of my colleagues on the corporate executive board, are with his wife, Monique, and their family.”