October 2, 2023 – We are pleased to share that Jolanda Poots-Bijl has officially started her position as Chief Financial Officer at Ahold Delhaize today. We had the opportunity to speak with Jolanda to learn more about her learnings, leadership philosophy and ambitions for Ahold Delhaize. With over 20 years of executive and supervisory board experience, Jolanda is a leader focused on making things better, supporting colleagues to succeed as well as driving financial success.
On a more personal level, Jolanda is Dutch, lives in Laren in The Netherlands with her husband and always aims to “think big and care for people". She is an enthusiastic and devoted Albert Heijn customer (she has shopped there her whole life!) and would say the fresh soup boxes and freshly squeezed orange juice are her favorite products.
I enjoyed meeting so many highly experienced and passionate people, often with long tenures in our company. I have visited almost all our great local brands and have learned what makes them unique, their histories and ambitions going forward. I enjoyed the visits to the stores, warehouses and different offices a lot. It is exciting and a privilege to join Ahold Delhaize.
There were many highlights, but what really struck me was how we were stopped several times by customers in our stores to share that they are so happy with the role our store teams play in their daily life and their community. That is amazing!
Ahold Delhaize is positioned in the heart of society and this makes a difference as it’s a people for people business. However, being in the midst of society also brings some societal challenges, our brands’ stores must navigate those while staying true to our brand values and ensuring safety for both customers and associates.
A shared (and important) value in my experience is the ambition to create a more sustainable world and the focus on talented people and digitization.
We have a lot to be grateful for: a strong company with a strong international presence, an industry-leading financial position, great talent and great local brands. This enables us to successfully navigate both the challenges and opportunities ahead.
If I look at the challenges, it’s clear that the markets we operate in struggle with inflation. People and economies are under pressure. We need to continuously ensure our customer value proposition responds to that and that our brands’ assortments continue to be affordable and healthy. We want to be a leader in sustainability, to invest in our people and to be a digital leader. We also want to deliver high performance to our shareholders. To structurally realize these ambitions and build a long-term future-proof organization, growth is very important. Balancing these topics is both the challenge and the opportunity going forward.
Sustainability is embedded in Ahold Delhaize’s DNA. We are one of the frontrunners in our industry and have recently been scored 'prime' in the ISS-ESG, and ‘AAA’ in the MSCI indexes, important ESG benchmarks that track the ambitions and performance of companies like Ahold Delhaize and peers. I am passionate about maintaining that frontrunner position and proud of the commitments we have made around – for example – the reduction of carbon emissions and waste. To realize our commitments, we must continuously collaborate closely, in- and outside our company and across the value chain.
Tough times are part of every exciting journey. It does help if you are in it together. Supporting each other, listening and having a good laugh now and then while keeping the end goal in mind, and remembering that sometimes you need to go deep to really change things for the better.
Jolanda brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her role as CFO. Her strategic vision will drive our company to greater heights, and we look forward to witnessing her positive impact in the food retail industry.