- Ahold Delhaize has nominated Bala Subramanian, chief digital officer at AT&T, to join its supervisory board, the Dutch grocery company announced on Wednesday. The board plans to propose his nomination, along with one for former Unilever and Avon executive Jan Zijderveld, at the grocer's annual general meeting on April 14.
- Subramanian came to AT&T in 2018 after spending five years at Best Buy and 15 years at T-Mobile in leadership roles driving the companies’ digital growth, according to his LinkedIn profile.
- Additionally, Dominique Leroy and Ben Noteboom will leave the board. Leroy is departing because of her executive role at Deutsche Telekom, while Noteboom has hit the term limit.
If the Ahold Delhaize board accepts the nominations, Subramanian and Zijderveld will join a board with a wide variety of nonfood experience, including in investment banking, distribution, finance, and direct-to-consumer health and wellness. Board members at the company serve four-year terms up to a maximum of 12 years.
Supervisory Board Chair Peter Agnefjäll noted in a statement that Subramanian’s skills will bolster Ahold Delhaize’s digital skills and abilities as the company looks to build up its omnichannel retail operations. “He will bring extensive experience in transforming large companies towards omnichannel and digital businesses,” Agnefjäll said.
Ahold Delhaize focused on speeding up investments in its digital and omnichannel capabilities in 2020 by shifting its capital expenditures spending, Frans Muller, president and CEO of Ahold Delhaize, said when announcing its fourth-quarter earnings. In pursuit of those efforts, the company has launched 1,130 click-and-collect locations in the U.S. and debuted an e-commerce subscription for The Giant Company in January, which, for $98 annually, provides unlimited free grocery delivery and pickup.
The company's online U.S. sales have soared in recent quarters as the pandemic drives an online shopping surge, up 127% in Q2, 114.7% in Q3 and 128.5% in Q4.
"Last quarter, we outlined plans to invest in our business to solidify our position as an industry-leading local omnichannel retailer in 2021 and beyond in order to increase our share of the consumer wallet, and find ways to improve our online productivity," Muller said in the Q4 earnings report.
At AT&T, Subramanian leads the telecommunications company’s omnichannel customer experience. Subramanian also currently serves as the director of Cars.com’s board and serves on its audit and remuneration committees.
He told GeekWire in 2018 that multi-channel retail was an important area he focused on during his time at Best Buy. During his 15 years at T-Mobile, he spent more than four years as the vice president of enterprise architecture, overseeing the company’s architecture and technology efforts. Before that, he spent more than 10 years leading the company's core data and network infrastructure strategy.