QUINCY, Mass. - Industry sources said they were surprised at Ahold's selection last week of Jose Alvarez as chief executive officer of the company's Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover division, especially in light of Ahold's search for candidates both inside and outside the company.
Alvarez, who most recently served as executive vice president of supply chain and logistics at Stop & Shop/Giant, succeeds Marc Smith, who unveiled his plans to retire earlier this year. Smith reportedly clashed with Anders Moberg, CEO of Amsterdam-based Ahold.
Although the selection came as a surprise, sources said Alvarez had overseen several important initiatives at Stop & Shop/Giant.
"Jose is a very bright individual, a good process thinker who will bring a different way of thinking to the business," said Gary Preston, a former Ahold executive who is now a partner in executive search firm Preston & Reffett, Philadelphia. "What he may lack in experience, he makes up for in intellectual horsepower, and he has a great supporting cast."
Burt P. Flickinger III, managing director of Strategic Resource Group, New York, said Smith and Alvarez had been "a terrific team."
"Alvarez spearheaded the value initiative at Stop & Shop and has been very constructive in working with organized labor," he added.
Prior to joining Stop & Shop in 2001, Alvarez worked with Shaw's Supermarkets and Jewel Foods.
"Jose has a track record of delivering results by reinventing the way we do business,' said Moberg. "He has taken responsibility for difficult projects and has successfully led the management teams which have completed those projects."