Ahold Delhaize USA names company veteran as new CEO

Marianne Wilson
Marianne Wilson profile picture
J.J. Fleeman
J.J. Fleeman has been nominated as the next CEO of Ahold Delhaize USA.

The chief executive of Ahold Delhaize USA plans to retire.

Kevin Holt will step down when his term expires at the company’s annual shareholders meeting on April 12, 2023. The grocery retailer plans to nominate J.J. Fleeman, who has served as president of Peapod Digital Labs and chief commercial officer and digital officer of Ahold Delhaize since May 2018, as CEO and a member of the board. 

Freeman has spent most his 30-year career in grocery retail in Ahold Delhaize companies, including Food Lion, the company’s largest U.S. brand, serving a diverse array of executive leadership roles, covering strategy, commercial, digital, retail operations, marketing and merchandising. His appointment as CEO is subject to shareholder approval at the meeting.

“J.J. is an inspiring leader who will advance the U.S. businesses through omnichannel market share growth and who will continue to deliver on the Connected Customer strategy that Kevin has so carefully developed and implemented with the team over the past few years," said Peter Agnefjäll, chair of the supervisory board of Ahold Delhaize. "It is a testament to Kevin’s leadership that we were able to select his successor from our own ranks.”

Holt, who has served as CEO of Ahold Delhaize USA since 2018, will remain with the company in an advisory capacity until he retires at the end of 2023 to ensure a seamless transition.

“While Kevin will be with us for another year and we will formally say goodbye next year, I want to use this opportunity to thank him for his outstanding service and leadership to the Ahold Delhaize Management Board and companies of Ahold Delhaize USA – including its predecessor companies,” said Frans Muller, president and CEO of Ahold Delhaize. “Under Kevin’s leadership, our U.S. businesses have performed exceptionally well, and he has always led with customers and associates in mind.”

Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, operates more than 2,000 stores across 23 states under the Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Co., Hannaford, and Stop & Shop banners, as well as e-grocer FreshDirect.