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Lidl names chairman for U.S. operation

Former Aldi executive Roman Heini joins Lidl US leadership team

Poised for a major expansion in metropolitan New York, Lidl has appointed Roman Heini as chairman of Lidl US.

The Germany-based discount grocery chain said Friday that Heini is slated to relocate to the Lidl US headquarters in Arlington, Va., and start in the new post on March 1.

Heini (left) joined Lidl in October from rival discount grocer Aldi, where he served as a joint managing director for the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2014.

His appointment as U.S. chairman marks the second major leadership move by Lidl US within the past year. In May, the company named Lidl Sweden CEO Johannes Fieber as president and CEO of Lidl US, succeeding Brendan Proctor, who held that role since June 2015, when the U.S. headquarters opened.

“Roman’s decision to relocate to our Arlington headquarters with this appointment underscores Lidl’s commitment to the U.S. and is a major step forward in positioning us for dynamic growth,” Fieber said in a statement. “I look forward to welcoming Roman to the U.S. and driving Lidl’s success together.” 

Lidl said Heini and Fieber will focus on optimizing operations for the U.S. stores, which number more than 60, and driving Lidl US’ growth into new markets on the East Coast.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to join the capable team at Lidl US and to contribute to our expansion in the United States,” Heini said. “I look forward to working closely with the team as we continue to tackle the priority projects of our U.S. business.”  

Key to that effort will be the integration and banner conversion of 27 Best Market supermarkets in New York and New Jersey. The acquisition, announced in mid-November, brings Lidl US into a new market area: Long Island, N.Y., where Best Market has 24 of its stores. Lidl US entered the metro New York in December with the opening of a store in Staten Island.

The Best Market purchase also extends Lidl US’ regional presence solidly into the Northeast — including four stores in New Jersey — from the South and Mid-Atlantic, where the chain’s store base is concentrated. Currently, Lidl operates locations in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. A new store is scheduled to open Feb. 13 in Marbleton, Ga.

Lidl added that with Heini assuming direct supervision of the U.S. business, international board member Michael Aranda will take on a new role on the company’s management board in Europe. In the fall of 2017, then-Lidl Spain CEO Aranda was appointed to a corporate divisional board overseeing U.S. operations, replacing Daniel Marasch.  Overall, Lidl operates approximately 10,500 stores in 29 countries.

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