Jan Ernst de Groot, chief legal officer and chief sustainability officer of Ahold Delhaize, has announced his intention to retire on May 31.
De Groot started as chief legal officer at Ahold Group in 2015, building on a career of executive and board level roles at companies such as TNT Express and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. After the merger in 2016, he remained chief legal officer for the combined company.
In August 2022, de Groot also became Ahold Delhaize’s first chief sustainability officer, signaling the fact that sustainability had become of such strategic importance at Ahold Delhaize that it needed to be represented at the executive committee level.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Ahold Delhaize, a food retailer that is truly at the heart of society,” de Groot said.
“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.”
Frans Muller, president and CEO of Ahold Delhaize, commented: “Jan Ernst has been a true partner, for the executive committee and me personally, over the years. 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.”
Following de Groot’s decision, the company decided to create a dedicated role for sustainability in the executive committee. Linn Evans, currently chief legal officer and general counsel at Ahold Delhaize USA, will assume the role of chief legal officer for Ahold Delhaize on April 15. The company is “beginning the selection process for the chief sustainability officer position.”
Evans has more than 32 years of legal experience, with most of his career dedicated to grocery retail. He joined the Ahold Delhaize family of companies in 1998, starting as a senior attorney at Food Lion and has held legal leadership positions in each of the predecessor companies. Evans is a certified public accountant and is 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,” Muller said.
“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.”
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