U.S. Foodservice Chief Resigns

May 13, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Jim Miller has stepped down from the top position at the U.S. Foodservice division
of Ahold. The Supervisory Board of Dutch supermarket giant Royal Ahold NV said
this morning that they had accepted his resignation.

Mr. Miller, founder and chief executive, U.S. Foodservice has been taking heat
over the accounting scandal that forced the company to restate $880 million
in earnings. An internal company investigation found two executives in purchasing
and marketing inflated supplier rebate revenues over a three-year period, and
the company has implied that others may have been involved.

Robert G. Tobin will serve as interim chief executive officer, while the company
seeks out a replacement for Mr. Miller. Mr. Tobin is a member of the Ahold Supervisory
Board since 2001. He is the former Chairman and CEO of Stop & Shop, which he
joined in 1960. In 1998 he was appointed President and CEO of Ahold USA as well
as to the Ahold Corporate Executive Board from which he retired in 2001. Mr.
Miller, whol has agreed to work with Mr. Tobin to ease the transition, has served
as president and ceo of U.S. Foodservice since 1997, and was appointed to the
Ahold Corporate Executive Board in 2001.

Moderator’s Comment: What will Jim Miller leaving U.S.
Foodservice mean for the company?

We’ve heard it said more than once by people within the
food industry that Jim Miller is U.S. Foodservice. That’s why you had people
questioning whether it really makes sense for Ahold to ask for his resignation.

A source told the Washington Post, “When you have a discrepancy
of $880 million, I don’t see any way to avoid the accusation of poor management.
The easy answer is of course . . . to fire him. It’s not clear that is the best
answer for the company.”

We would argue, with deep regret having to do so, the
perception U.S. Foodservice could not prosper without Mr. Miller is an even
greater indictment of his poor management skills. Mr. Miller is a great salesman,
no question. He has not been the leader U.S. Foodservice needed.

Anderson – Moderator

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

Be the First to Comment!