Delhaize Reorganizes, Closes Stores, Cuts Private Brand VP

My Essentials CommercialYesterday, Delhaize America announced that their Florida based banner former Kash n’ Karry, Sweetbay Supermarket will close 33 “underperforming” grocery stores from its total fleet of 105 stores in Florida – all of them closing by mid February. The closures will mean layoffs for about 2,000 employees in Florida and changes for customers of the pharmacies at those stores.

The last few years have been a time of dramatic change and evolution for my former employer Delhaize America and its banners Food Lion, Hannaford, Sweetbay Supermarket, Bottom Dollar Foods, Harvey’s and Reid’s and Bloom. Reorganization, repositioning, store closings and layoffs have been regular occurrences including the shuttering of the once heralded banner Bloom.

This past week fifteen Delhaize America executives were let go in a leadership shake-up that started last month with the replacement of Food Lion President Cathy Green Burns. Delhaize America Chief Executive Roland Smith appointed Beth Newlands Campbell, former president of Hannaford Supermarkets to replace Burns as president of both Food Lion and Harvey’s.

Roland Smith was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Delhaize America and Executive Vice President of Delhaize Group, effective October 15, 2012. Mr. Smith came to the position with no grocery experience from his role as President and CEO of The Wendy’s Company.

Delhaize America cut 25% of high-level leadership positions and internally unveiled a new structure that includes 50 officers.

Most significant to My Private Brand readers is the departure of Kristen Hanson, Vice President Our (Private) Brands, Delhaize America, this follows the exit earlier this year of Nancy Dumais the longtime Director of Branding & Design (Nancy was not part of the layoffs and left to pursue other opportunities). The departure of these two key Private Brand leaders are sure to spell continued change and evolution for the Delhaize Private Brand portfolio which most recently launched the consolidating and somewhat generic private label “My Essentials”

According to an internal Delhaize email obtained by the Salisbury, NC daily newspaper the Salisbury Post:

“Developing the new officer structure required a great number of difficult decisions that led to the departure of many longtime, well-respected leaders,” new Delhaize America CEO Roland Smith said in the email.

With these changes in place, about 80% of Delhaize America officers will be located in Salisbury. Smith has moved the Delhaize America CEO office back to Salisbury. His predecessor, Ron Hodge, was based in Scarborough, Maine.

Food Lion, which makes up the majority of Delhaize, has struggled, closing 113 underperforming stores and pulling out of Florida.

Vice presidents who lost their jobs include:

  • Kyle Price, produce merchandising
  • Pete Bonneau, center store merchandising, Delhaize America
  • Mike Brooks, strategy, Delhaize America
  • Jim Corby, produce merchandising, Delhaize America
  • Steve Culver, government relations – northeast, Delhaize America
  • Kristen Hanson, Our Brands, Delhaize America
  • Mike Harris, risk management, Delhaize America
  • Lisa Miller, sustainability, Delhaize America
  • Lisa Toner, legal affairs, Delhaize America

The following vice presidents will leave the company in mid-March:

  • Shawn Beichler, real estate, Delhaize America
  • Steve Campbell, organizational development, learning and internal brand and communication, Delhaize America
  • Bonnie Moore, associate relations
  • Eric Watson, diversity and inclusion, Delhaize America


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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.