James McCann (below), who joined Ahold last year as chief commercial and development officer, was named to succeed Schlicker as COO, effective Feb. 1, 2013.
‘’I am very pleased that we have a strong leader for Ahold USA from within our own organization,’’ said Dick Boer, chief executive officer, Ahold. ‘’Since his start with Ahold, James has focused on strengthening our e-commerce proposition and customer loyalty programs as part of the company’s robust growth strategy that was launched last year and is now being implemented. This appointment is a natural next step for James. With his international experience in leading roles at global retailers, James is very well qualified to take on this important role within Ahold.”
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Before joining Ahold last year, McCann had worked with several international retailers, including Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Carrefour. He began his career at Shell, and also worked for Mars in the U.K. and Russia. He will relocate to the U.S. for his new role.
Schlicker held several key positions during his tenure at Ahold, including president and CEO of Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover from 2008-2009 and president and CEO of Giant-Carlisle from 2007-2008. From 2009-2011, he was president and CEO of Ahold USA Retail.
“I have had the privilege of working in a great industry with the very best associates in the business,” said Schlicker in a statement. “I have enjoyed the fast pace of retail grocery and the ability to make a positive difference in the lives of millions of customers and associates in communities throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.”
Boer added that Schlicker “has helped to build a very strong foundation for Ahold USA through his focus on operational excellence and driving customer loyalty by delivering value, quality and service.”
Separately, Ahold reported a 3.3% decline in underlying operating income in the U.S. for its fiscal third quarter, to $233 million. U.S. sales were up 1.9%, to $5.9 billion, and identical-store sales, excluding gas, were down 1.5%.
Underlying operating margins were 4% of sales, vs. 4.2% in the year-ago period.
“We have an ongoing high level of promotion activities in the U.S., but I must say, we have invested heavily in creating cost reductions in our stores,” Boer said in a conference call with analysts.
He noted the company is gaining market share both against traditional supermarkets and non-traditional competitors.
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