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Ahold Delhaize USA yesterday issued a press release saying that Nicholas Bertram, president of The Giant Company, is leaving the organization on August 31 "to pursue other opportunities."

John Ruane, the company's Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, will serve as interim president until a successor is named.

Kevin Holt, president, Ahold Delhaize USA, released the following prepared statement:  “We have been fortunate to have Nick lead The GIANT Company during his nine-year tenure.  His leadership has inspired very strong performance by the team. The GIANT Company has achieved a great deal of success, with growth in its local markets, innovation in operations and a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as health and sustainability. We remain confident in the continued momentum of the brand and wish Nick all the best in the future.” 

The press release also included a statement from Bertram:  “Leading The GIANT Company to be designed for the way families live now has been a great honor, and I am excited about the growing momentum of our purpose-led teammates. That, along with the strength of our leadership team, makes now the most natural time for me to step away. I have great confidence in John and believe that The GIANT Company’s best days are still to come."

KC's View:

To be honest, I don't know what to make of this.

For one thing, it seems very sudden.

As an industry insider told me yesterday, when the phrase "to pursue other opportunities" is used in such a press release, it usually means that it wasn't the idea of the person leaving.

But, when a person is being pushed out, the press release also usually doesn't include a generous quote from that person.

I only met Nick Bertram once, earlier this summer, when we spent much of a day in Philadelphia looking at Giant stores, finishing up with a terrific cheesesteak sandwich.  (I hope he didn't get canned for hanging out with me.)  I was really impressed with his energy, perspective, and the ways in which he interacted with store personnel, with whom he seemed very familiar.  He certainly didn't seem like someone who would be leaving soon.  But, of course, you never know.

My guess - actually, my hope - is that shortly after Labor Day, we'll find out where Nick Bertram is going, and why he left Ahold Delhaize will become clear.  But, you never know.