Management change at the top of supermarket group Albert Heijn

Albert HeijnThe chief executive of supermarket group Albert Heijn is leaving the company on February 1, parent company Ahold said on Thursday.

No specific reason was given for Sander van der Laan’s departure but the company statement said it was a ’mutually agreed decision.

According to the Financieele Dagblad, Van der Laan had been under pressure following strong competition from the Jumbo supermarket group and discounters.

Van der Laan, who has been with Ahold for 16 years, will be replaced by Wouter Kolk. Kolk, 48, has been with Ahold since 1991 and worked for the company in Asia and as head of the Etos chemists chain.

Ahold also announced its 2014 Q4 figures on Thursday.

Group sales rose almost 8% to €8.1bn, boosted by positive currency effects. In the Netherlands, group sales rose 4.5% in the final quarter of last year but were down 0.3% like-for-like over 2014 as a whole. The figures include online retailer, Etos and wine and spirits store Gall & Gall.

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