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MNB has obtained an internal Delhaize America memo saying that the company has decided to outsource "certain functions" within its Technology Services department, suggesting that the move will allow the company to be both more effective and efficient.

It has been a rough couple of months for Delhaize. Less than two weeks ago, Stefan Descheemaeker, CEO of Delhaize Europe, has resigned. No reason was been given for his departure. That move came just a month after Delhaize Group announced the simultaneous departure of Roland Smith, who took on the job as CEO of Delhaize America a year ago, and naming of Frans Muller to succeed Pierre-Olivier Beckers as CEO of Delhaize Group. Smith reportedly left because he did not get the top job.

Just last week, Bi-Lo Holdings announced that when it closes on its acquisition of Sweetbay, Reid's and Harveys stores from Delhaize, it intends to convert the Sweetbay stores to the Winn-Dixie banner and the Reid's stores to the Bi-Lo name.

So there is enormous change taking place at the company.

Here is the memo, from Deb Dixson, Chief Information Officer, Delhaize America:

Today, I announced that we, the Delhaize America IT Leadership, have made the difficult decision to outsource certain functions within our Technology Services department. This will further enhance our service to the company, while enabling us to deploy our internal resources more effectively. The functions include:

• The data center operation to a world-class provider, IBM: Over the next several weeks, we will begin transitioning the data center services, with the goal of being fully transitioned by mid-month.

• Network Services, help desk, and desktop support by year-end: We are working to formalize partner negotiations and expect to share additional details on these functions in the near future.

Approximately 80 employees total from both Salisbury and Scarborough locations will be impacted. We are taking great care to ensure that all associates affected by this decision are treated with dignity and respect throughout the entire transition process.

Additionally, we have solid plans in place to ensure business continuity throughout the transition. All associates who are impacted by Data Center Operations will be offered employment for a minimum of six months with IBM.

These types of decisions require extensive consideration and are never easy. We appreciate the many contributions of our IT associates – both those who will continue to support our business internally, and those who are transitioning into new organizations.

We believe outsourcing key functions to trusted partners will enable us to focus our internal IT resources on supporting key business initiatives while being able to activate new technology and innovation to deliver the best services for Delhaize America. While these changes are large in scale to the IT organization, there will be no change to the business. Your points of contact will remain the same. Business Relationship Managers will continue to provide strong partnership while we remain focused and are striving to provide world class service and support.

We look forward to a powerful working partnership with these new organizations, and hope that you will join us in support of this new delivery model for IT. This transformation will require significant change for every IT associate to think, act and operate differently, with the goal of fortifying our IT infrastructure in a way that positions Delhaize America as an innovative grocery retailer.

While we do not anticipate any further outsourcing announcements this calendar year, we will continually review our IT business model to ensure we are delivering on our mission and vision of fueling retail growth for Delhaize America.

KC's View:
I'm not smart enough about such things to judge whether this is a good or bad idea. But it probably is fair to say that there likely continues to be a lot of people with frayed nerves at Delhaize, which used to be a model of stability and now seems like a company that has put everything and everybody on the table.