Get Acquainted with Jolanda Poots-Bijl, the New CFO of Ahold Delhaize
We are delighted to announce that Jolanda Poots-Bijl has officially assumed her role as Chief Financial Officer at Ahold Delhaize. In our conversation with Jolanda, we gained insights into her leadership philosophy, aspirations for Ahold Delhaize, and her impressive background with over two decades of executive and supervisory board experience. Jolanda is known for her dedication to improvement, supporting her colleagues in achieving success, and driving financial growth.
On a personal note, Jolanda is Dutch and resides in Laren, The Netherlands, with her husband. Her philosophy revolves around thinking big and caring for people. She is an enthusiastic and loyal customer of Albert Heijn, having shopped there throughout her life, with fresh soup boxes and freshly squeezed orange juice being her favored products.
You’ve recently visited various brands in the U.S. and Europe. What were your initial impressions?
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting numerous highly experienced and passionate individuals, many of whom have devoted long years to our company. I’ve had the privilege of visiting nearly all our exceptional local brands, learning about their uniqueness, histories, and future ambitions. My visits to the stores, warehouses, and different offices were both exciting and an honor. Joining Ahold Delhaize is a remarkable opportunity.
Can you share a standout moment from your visits?
While there were many highlights, what truly resonated with me was the encounters with customers in our stores who expressed their happiness with the significant role our store teams play in their daily lives and communities. That is truly amazing!
This marks your first experience as CFO in a retail organization. What distinctions (or similarities) do you notice compared to other sectors you’ve worked in?
Ahold Delhaize occupies a central position in society, which sets it apart as a people-oriented business. Yet, being deeply embedded in society also brings certain societal challenges. Our brand’s stores must navigate these challenges while remaining true to our brand values and ensuring the safety of both customers and associates.
A common and vital value, based on my experience, is the ambition to create a more sustainable world and a strong focus on talented individuals and digitization.
As a seasoned business leader, you bring a fresh perspective to Ahold Delhaize. What challenges and opportunities do you foresee for our business in the coming years?
We have much to be thankful for—a robust company with a strong international presence, leading financial standing, exceptional talent, and outstanding local brands. This positions us well to navigate the forthcoming challenges and seize opportunities.
When considering the challenges, it’s evident that the markets we operate in are grappling with inflation, putting pressure on people and economies. We must continuously ensure that our customer value proposition aligns with these challenges, offering affordable and healthy assortments. Our aim is to lead in sustainability, invest in our people, and maintain digital leadership while delivering high performance to our shareholders. Achieving these ambitions and constructing a future-proof organization through sustainable growth is both our challenge and opportunity moving forward.
What are your aspirations regarding sustainability?
Sustainability is deeply ingrained in Ahold Delhaize’s DNA. We stand as frontrunners in our industry, with recent accolades such as ‘prime’ in the ISS-ESG and ‘AAA’ in the MSCI indexes—significant ESG benchmarks that track the commitments and performance of companies like Ahold Delhaize and its peers. I am passionate about preserving this frontrunner status and proud of our commitments, such as reducing carbon emissions and waste. To fulfill these commitments, close collaboration within and beyond our company, across the value chain, is essential.
How do you inspire yourself and your team during challenging times?
Challenging times are an integral part of any exciting journey. It’s easier to navigate them when we stand together, offering support, listening, sharing a good laugh, all while keeping our end goal in sight. It’s crucial to remember that sometimes, true transformation requires delving deep to bring about positive change.
Jolanda brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her role as CFO. Her strategic vision promises to propel our company to greater heights, and we eagerly anticipate her positive impact on the food retail industry.