Ahold Delhaize today announces that Jan Ernst de Groot, chief legal officer and chief sustainability officer, has decided to retire. Ernst de Groot started as CLO 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 CLO for the combined company. In August 2022, he 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 Executive Committee level.
Upon the announcement, Ernst de Groot stated: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Ahold Delhaize, a food retailer that is truly at the heart of society. 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 judgement, 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 Ernst de Groot's decision, the company has 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. The selection process for the chief sustainability officer position has already begun.
Linn 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. Linn is a native of Salisbury, N.C., and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with distinction and a law degree with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and he is a certified public accountant. He also 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. 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,” said Muller.