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Woolworths Chief Sustainability Officer Alex Holt Joining Ahold Delhaize: Five Things to Know

December 11, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Woolworths Group veteran Alex Holt will join Ahold Delhaize as chief sustainability officer (CSO) in June 2024.

The announcement surfaced roughly one month after current Ahold Delhaize Chief Legal Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer Jan Ernst de Groot announced plans to retire, effective May 2024. While Holt will take on the CSO role, Linn Evans will become chief legal officer.

Here are five things to know about Holt's experience, and Ahold Delhaize's sustainability strategy.

1. Business Scope and Scale: Ahold Delhaize, based in Zaandam, Netherlands, employs roughly 414,000 people. The company's retail locations and e-commerce sites serve 60 million customers per week. Net sales for the financial year ending on January 1, 2023, were €87 billion (about $93.7 billion), up 15.1% from the previous year.

2. Sustainability Strategy:

  • For Ahold Delhaize operations (scope 1 and 2), the company is committed to becoming net-zero by 2040 with an interim target of a 50% reduction by 2030. 
  • Ahold Delhaize is committed to an interim CO2 emissions reduction target for its entire value chain (scope 3) of at least 37% by 2030 with a 2020 baseline.  
  • Ahold Delhaize is committed to becoming net-zero across its entire value chain by 2050.  

3. Alex Holt's Experience: According to her LinkedIn bio, Holt has roughly 25 years of leadership experience in the retail and consumer-goods sectors, across three continents. She has been chief sustainability officer at Woolworths Group since 2021. Earlier, she held general manager positions that involved quality, health and group sustainability; and concept development. Hold joined Woolworths Group in 2011 from Tesco, where she spent seven years in a number of roles in business improvement, merchandising and sourcing.

The Woolworths Group employs roughly 200,000 people across Australia and New Zealand. The retailer served roughly 24.5 million customers per week during the company's fiscal year 2023. Revenue was $64.3 billion in fiscal year 2023, up 5.7% from fiscal year 2022.

The overall Woolworths sustainability strategy has achieved these 2023 milestones.

4. Holt's Expected Responsibilities at Ahold Delhaize: When she joins Ahold Delhaize in June 2024, Holt will become an executive committee member. Moreover, she will "drive the vision and strategy on sustainability in line with our Group strategy and accelerate focus and collaboration across the organization and our supply chain," the company said.

Frans Muller, president and CEO, Ahold Delhaize

5. Executive Perspectives: In a prepared announcement about hiring Holt, Ahold Delhaize President and CEO Frans Muller said: “I am very happy that Alex will join our Executive Committee as our new Chief Sustainability Officer. She brings relevant experience from a food retail, business leadership and sustainability perspective. She is a sharp thinker and inspiring leader with a deep understanding of the challenges and impact that this role brings in a food retail company with ambitions with regard to health, nature, and climate.”

Added Holt: “I am very excited to join Ahold Delhaize, a company that wants to contribute positively to the transition to a sustainable food system. I am looking forward to partnering with the executive team, sustainability and business leaders across the company and across the industry to tackle the challenges that we face together, and seize the opportunities that create the biggest impact.”

Ahold Delhaize and Sustainability: Why Technology Partners Should Care

By 2027, 25% of Global 2000 companies will have assigned a chief sustainability officer (CSO) responsible for meeting their organization’s ESG goals and making ESG-related IT purchasing decisions, according to IDC.

The bottom line: Technology partners need to extend their sales, marketing, engagement and support strategies to successfully fulfill those CSO customer needs, Sustainable Tech Partner believes.

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