Global citizen who started Ahold's recovery

Global citizen who started Ahold’s recovery

René Dahan wanted a ‘Beppie’ as a parting gift when he left Ahold’s chairman of the board in 2013. A ‘Beppie’, that’s what they call the statue of a woman with shopping bags in the hall of the head office at Ahold in Zaandam (now Ahold Delhaize). “Lest we forget for whom we work,” is the caption.

Dahan, a key figure in Ahold’s recent turbulent history, passed away last weekend at the age of 80. When Dahan left, Dick Boer, CEO of the company until 2018, asked what he wanted for his farewell. The choice for a replica of the statue – donated to Ahold by Ab Hein, the grandson of Albert Heijn – is characteristic of Dahan’s vision of the company, says Boer: find roots again.”

When Dahan, a Moroccan-born Dutchman, was brought from the United States to Ahold in 2004, those roots had disappeared from view. The group almost collapsed after an accounting scandal at the American subsidiary US Foodservice and at other foreign subsidiaries. Turnover figures appeared to have been artificially inflated, shareholders had lost billions of euros, confidence in Ahold had evaporated.

Under Dahan, confidence was gradually restored. A chairman of the supervisory board does not make day-to-day decisions, but can – certainly in or shortly after a crisis situation – provide direction. And Dahan did well, says Boer. Before he became CEO of Ahold in 2010, Boer was instructed by Dahan to carry out a strategic review. As a result, the company would henceforth only be active in markets where it could be number one or two. US Foodservice was divested.

Driver out of the way

Dahan was not afraid to dismiss poorly functioning drivers. That happened with Anders Moberg, CEO until 2007. It was “better for his career to take a step outside the group”, Dahan summarized his message to Moberg at the time. Ahold did not make any major international acquisitions in Dahan’s years, but it did acquire bol.com in 2012, which is now being floated independently on the stock exchange.

Above all, don’t make any major new mistakes after the accounting ebacle, that was the motto under Dahan. In an interview with The Financial Times in 2013, Dahan himself said: “If you give me the choice between being risk averse and avoiding accidents or operating risky and accepting that you will have an accident here and there, then I know. We have no room for accidents.”

As the highest commissioner, Dahan was “on top of it”, says Jan Hommen, his successor after 2013, on the phone. Hommen came from ING, where he had been chairman of the board. Before that, Hommen had been on Ahold’s supervisory board together with Dahan for several years. Hommen speaks of Dahan’s “strong discipline” and “control”, with which the company overcame the chaos of the accounting affair. Both Boer and Hommen describe Dahan as “direct” and “clear”, but also as charming person.

Driver out of the way

It was also someone who could lose his temper. In 2012, he clashed during a shareholders’ meeting with American activists, who had come to the Netherlands to protest against the way the American Ahold subsidiary Giant Carlisle treated its employees. Employees should not be allowed to join a union. A cashier from Virginia received a business-like, but fierce, response from Dahan. “You know you would have the opportunity to join the union. We don’t harass people. You know that. I do not accept the allegations.” To continue coldly: “You didn’t have to make this trip to the Netherlands.”

Dahan’s life is anything but standard for someone at the top of the Dutch business community. He was born in 1941 in Fez, Morocco. Dahan followed a seaman’s training in France and served in the port of Rotterdam in the 1960s as a helmsman.

He fell in love with a Dutch woman and went to work for Esso. Dahan started as a technical manager at a refinery in Rotterdam, and eventually rose to the position of ExxonMobil’s second man worldwide in the US. Boer calls Dahan a “citizen of the world”. He spoke Arabic, French, Spanish, Dutch and English.

Also read this interview (1991) with René Dahan: CEO Esso: West will soon become even more dependent on OPEC Proven oil reserves in the Middle East are still increasing

Admiration for VS

During his American years he had come to admire the United States. In an interview with NRC in 2004, shortly after joining Ahold, he said that the European welfare state “deprives the individual of any initiative.” In the US, he said, “the workers themselves take responsibility for jobs and income, while in Europe people often think that someone else will tell them what to do.”

In his early years at Ahold, Dahan brought three American board members to the company. These were three women, which briefly made them the majority on Ahold’s supervisory board. At the time (2006) this was exceptional, although it is still not very common today.

Dahan was strongly committed to diversity in the supervisory board, he said in an interview with entrepreneur news site in 2010. MT/Sprout. “In purchasing decisions (…) you see that women are often decisive (…) With a group of men you might have come to a different point of view, you might have found some elements less important.”

And his own diverse background, did it play a role in his career? “When I refer to myself, I have never related my role and input and the why of my success in certain places to the fact that I am from Morocco,” he said in the same interview. “Honestly, I don’t think I would appreciate it if someone” gutsy good decoration with my Moroccan roots would make.”

Global citizen who started Ahold’s recovery
Source link Global citizen who started Ahold’s recovery

News Related

OTHER NEWS

MC Election Update Today January 27: Rahul Gandhi to kick off Punjab poll campaign by visiting Golden Temple today

Punjab’s Chief Electoral Officer S Karuna Raju has said only two persons can accompany the candidate while filing nomination papers at the office of the returning officer. (Representative image) Congress ... Read more »

Lottery Sambad Result January 27: 'Dear Bangabhumi Bhagirathi' lottery winners to be announced at 4 pm

Results of the West Bengal State Lottery Sambad ‘Dear Bangalakshmi Teesta’ are announced every Monday at 4 pm. (Representative Image) Lottery Sambad Result January 27: The West Bengal State Lottery Department will announce ... Read more »

Budget 2022 | Expected: Strong policy focus on renewables

Representative image The investment requirements in the renewable energy sector remain significant, given the strong policy focus in the segment by the Government of India. This comes in the light ... Read more »

US: Nord Stream 2 is canceled with Russian invasion of Ukraine

Photo: ANP If Russia decides to invade Ukraine, it will mean that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is “not going ahead”. Ned Price, the spokesman for the US State ... Read more »

NZ Automotive took a revenue hit in December, January

NZ Automotive Investments – the company behind 2 Cheap Auto Cars – said its revenue had been affected by lower car, finance and insurance product sales during the December and ... Read more »

WTO: China can slap duties on $645m of US imports

The World Trade Organization ruled in favor of Beijing in an anti-dumping dispute between the United States and China that stretched all the way back to 2012. GENEVA: The World ... Read more »

ShopKirana raises $38 million in Series C led by Info Edge, others

Sumit Ghorawat, Tanutejas Saraswat, Deepak Dhanotiya (Left to Right) Business-to-business startup ShopKirana which has rebranded to Direct has raised $38 million in Series C funding round, at a valuation of $1,50000 ... Read more »

MC Election Update Today January 27: Rahul Gandhi to kick of Punjab poll campaign by visiting Golden Temple today

Punjab’s Chief Electoral Officer S Karuna Raju has said only two persons can accompany the candidate while filing nomination papers at the office of the returning officer. (Representative image) Rahul ... Read more »

UK car production hits 65-year low as chip shortages pile pressure on COVID-battered sector

Fewer than 900,000 vehicles rolled off production lines in 2021, the lowest level since 1956, as factories slowed down or stopped work while scrambling to obtain scarce semiconductors. Read more »

Budget 2022 LIVE Updates | Insurers urge higher 80 C investment limit; reduction in GST on health products

Union Budget 2022 LIVE Updates: The Union Budget is the annual report of India as a country. It contains the government of India’s revenue and expenditure for the end of a ... Read more »

Petrol, Diesel Prices Today on January 27: Check rates in Delhi, Mumbai and other cities

In Delhi, the petrol price remained unchanged and retailed at Rs 95.41 a litre. (Representative image) Petrol and diesel prices remained unchanged for the 83nd day in a row on ... Read more »

India seen boosting budget spending on infrastructure

India plans to raise spending on infrastructure in its annual budget next week to set the economy on a firmer footing, but fiscal constraints leave little chance of concessions for ... Read more »

FNV: no rapprochement with metal companies, more strikes and petition

Photo: ANP Employees in the metal and technology sector will continue to strike for a while if a better collective labor agreement proposal is not forthcoming. According to the FNV ... Read more »

HSBC, Hang Seng Bank to give staff HK$500 each in electronic lai see to mark the Year of the Tiger

HSBC and its Hang Seng Bank unit will set aside HK$15 million (US$2 million) between them to pay their 30,000 employees a ceremonial lai see on the eve of the ... Read more »

Exclusive: Amazon in talks to back Trell at $1 billion valuation

No.1| Amazon |The biggest e-commerce company has made its name from scratch and now works on major technological advances like artificial intelligence and streaming. The company was the second company ... Read more »

Hot Stocks | Double-digit returns possible in SBI, Praj Industries, Minda Corporation in short term

Hot Stocks The Nifty50 is trying to find its feet near a strong support zone of 16,850-16,600 after a brutal fall. The market was looking much oversold as Put-Call ratio ... Read more »

Asian shares slump as Jerome Powell warns on inflation

Asian shares fell to their lowest in more than 14 months, short-term U.S. yields rose to 23-month highs and the dollar strengthened on Thursday after the Federal Reserve’s chairman signaled ... Read more »

Hong Kong stocks sink on more Alibaba price cuts before tech earnings while city seeks to contain Covid-19 outbreaks

Hong Kong stocks resumed decline, led by a slide in Alibaba Group Holding as more analysts trimmed their price targets before its earnings report, while the city struggles to contain ... Read more »

Ola Electric car is a premature pet project that won't run on hype alone

In a span of a year, Ola Electric has gone from being a promising upstart to a can’t-keep-a-promise startup whose grand plans seem rushed and poorly executed. After months of ... Read more »

Nuclear project Sizewell C wins £100m government cash injection

UK's net zero plans set out a key role for nuclear power, but some commentators say renewables are more economical. Read more »

Coronavirus Omicron LIVE Updates | Delhi govt to recommend reopening of schools in DDMA meeting today: Manish Sisodia

Coronavirus Omicron LIVE Updates | India logged 2,85,914 new coronavirus infections, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 4,00,85,116, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday. The ... Read more »

As tech stocks fall, investors wonder if the party is over

Technology stocks in India and the US have taken a beating, making investors wonder whether the epic bull run leading to unheard of valuations, massive deals for unprofitable companies and ... Read more »

Fed likely to hike rates in March as Powell vows sustained inflation fight

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell (File image) The Federal Reserve on Wednesday said it is likely to hike interest rates in March and reaffirmed plans to end its bond purchases ... Read more »

Tatas take first step in Air India, to introduce enhanced meal service' in 4 flights today

Air India has till now cancelled eight flights and six flights scheduled to operate on January 19 and January 20, respectively. The Tata Group has taken its first step at ... Read more »

Tesla posts record profit, won't produce new models in 2022

Image: Reuters Tesla Inc. on Wednesday posted record fourth-quarter and full-year earnings as deliveries of its electric vehicles soared despite a global shortage of computer chips that has slowed the ... Read more »

US dollar rises to five-week high after Fed policy decision

US dollar The dollar rose to a five-week high on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve said it is likely to raise U.S. interest rates in March as expected and later ... Read more »

Tesla sees Cybertruck production delayed to 2023

Source: reuters Tesla Inc will delay production of its much-awaited Cybertruck, aiming to start in 2023, the company said on Wednesday, at a time when legacy automakers and startups are ... Read more »

North Korea fires two missiles in latest testing frenzy: South Korea

Kim Jong Un (file image) Nuclear-armed North Korea fired what appeared to be two ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast, South Korea’s military said on Thursday, in ... Read more »

US responds to Russia security demands as Ukraine tensions mount

Ukraine’s biggest national flag on the country’s highest flagpole is seen at a compound of the World War II museum in Kyiv, Ukraine. (File photo: REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko) The United States ... Read more »

Startup SuperOps.ai raises $14 million in Series A funding

Representative image. SuperOps.ai, a services automation and remote management startup, has raised $14 million in Series A funding. The funding was led by Addition and Tanglin Venture Partners, with participation ... Read more »

BoT seen among last to hike as Fed signals liftoff

Shoppers walk through a market on Chakkraphet Road in Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok, on Jan 23, 2022. (Photo: Bangkok Post) Thailand's central bank is expected to be the last in ... Read more »

Buzzing Stocks | BHEL, United Spirits, JSPL and others in news today

Results on January 27: Bharat Heavy Electricals, Punjab National Bank, RBL Bank, Canara Bank, Indus Towers, Accelya Solutions India, AIA Engineering, Arvind, Aurionpro Solutions, Birlasoft, CG Power and Industrial Solutions, ... Read more »

Generali to hike stake and acquire control in both insurance JVs with Future Group

Representative image Eight months after the government notified a liberalised FDI regime by allowing foreign investors to acquire up to 74 percent in the insurance sector, Italian insurance behemoth Generali ... Read more »

Another top executive leaves Westpac NZ

Westpac New Zealand is to lose a second top executive with Karen Silk leaving the bank to join the Reserve Bank of New Zealand as assistant governor. Silk’s departure follows ... Read more »

Cramer's lightning round: Callon Petroleum has more upside ahead

ArcBest: “I like trucking. I like ArcBest, but you know what, we did that really good compare last night of Union Pacific versus CSX, and Union Pacific's intermodal business is ... Read more »

Reconstruction is only just beginning for humans

It was finally allowed again, and so the five men of a certain age found themselves in the rehearsal center in Amsterdam this week to go wild with their mixture ... Read more »

More books sold in 2021, but physical stores down

Consumers bought 43 million books in our country last year. That is the highest number in ten years. They did that very often via the Internet, where sales grew by ... Read more »

New Zealand markets take high CPI in their stride, focus on US Fed

New Zealand financial markets took news of a 5.9 per cent increase in inflation in 2021 largely in their stride, with most of the reaction taking place in the bond ... Read more »

Here's why Powell's Fed policy comments reinforced Cramer's stance on owning quality companies

CNBC's Jim Cramer said Wednesday he believes the current investing paradigm remains intact after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's comments on inflation and central bank policy earlier in the day. ... Read more »

Plan B to acquire AQUA units for B2.9bn

Pictured from left are: Mr Pinijsorn, Mr Palin, Mr Shine and Pakorn Mongkoltada, AQUA’s chief executive of operations. SET-listed Plan B Media, an out-of-home (OOH) media company, is to acquire ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic