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Ahold Delhaize taps McDonald’s exec as chief digital officer

Ahold Delhaize taps McDonald’s exec as chief digital officer

Farhan Siddiqi to lead international grocer’s digital transformation

Farhan Siddiqi is leaving his role as chief digital officer at McDonald’s to take on the same role at Ahold Delhaize.

The Zaandam, Netherlands-based global grocery retailer said Tuesday that Siddiqi is slated to join the company as chief digital officer on Jan. 28. He also will become a member of the executive committee.

In the newly created role at Ahold Delhaize, Siddiqi will oversee the digital transformation across the company’s grocery retail brands and drive further innovations, Ahold Dehaize said. The company noted that his efforts will focus on loyalty, data analytics and personalization.

Siddiqi has served as chief digital officer McDonald's since March 2017 after coming to the fast-food restaurant chain in June 2016 as vice president of global digital experience. His efforts in leading the company’s digital strategy included the launch of mobile commerce in 20,000 restaurants, a new mobile app and the upgrade of self-service ordering kiosks, according to Ahold Delhaize. He also oversaw data analytics and extended customer relationship management capabilities.

Before joining McDonald’s, Farhan held key leadership positions at Bank of America, Target and General Electric, where he focused on launching customer loyalty programs, digital payment solutions and strategic partnerships.

The appointment of a chief digital officer comes at a pivotal time for Ahold Delhaize. In November, top executives gathered in Manhattan to unveil a sweeping plan to build out an omnichannel front and back end and reinvigorate growth. Under the initiative, dubbed “Leading Together,” Ahold Delhaize sees e-commerce working hand in hand with its local supermarket brands to boost market share across its U.S. and international trade areas.

“I'm thrilled to welcome Farhan to Ahold Delhaize,” Ahold Delhaize CEO Frans Muller said in a statement. “With his knowledge of the digital customer experience in a wide variety of industries, he will help further accelerate Ahold Delhaize's digital transformation, a key element in our Leading Together strategy.”

The plan includes greater investment in technology, particularly in artificial intelligence, robotics and tools to create a seamless, multichannel and personalized shopping experience. Ahold Delhaize aims to double online sales companywide to €7 billion ($7.93 billion U.S.) over the next three years and established same-day or faster online grocery access to about 65% of U.S. customers by 2020. The company projected that it would more than double its U.S. click-and-collect locations to over 600 by the end of 2018.

“Farhan will drive best-practice sharing in digital and e-commerce across our great local brands while leveraging our global scale, supporting us in doubling net consumer online sales to around €7 billion euros by 2021,” according to Muller.

Overall, Ahold Delhaize operates 6,700 stores in the United States, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Central and Southeastern Europe and has annual sales of approximately €63 billion ($72 billion U.S.). Its Ahold Delhaize USA arm, which accounts for about 60% of sales, includes the supermarket chains Stop & Shop, Giant/Martin’s, Giant Food, Food Lion as Hannaford as well as online grocer Peapod.

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