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  • Citing what he called “Ahold’s ambitious plans for the coming years,” Ahold CEO Cees van der Hoeven has quit the supervisory boards of a Dutch bank and a telecom. “I have decided to give my undivided attention to the company and reduce my other activities to the minimum," he said in a statement.

    Because of recent financial reverses, Ahold is on a quest to eliminate non-core businesses and focus on the profitability and productivity of its core operations. While it has been rumored that van der Hoeven’s job at Ahold might be at risk, he in fact has been retained by the Ahold board to stay on for another seven years.

  • Wal-Mart December Sales At Low End Of Forecast. Wal-Mart Stores announced this morning that same-store sales in December look to be at the low end of expectations, though it is holding out hope for a last-minute rush.

    Same-store sales at the chain’s eponymous units are reported to be up at the low end of expectations, probably in the three percent range; it is seen as possible that the company’s Sam’s Club units will actually report lower December sales.

  • In the UK, Safeway Plc Loses Market Share, May Be Looking For New CEO. reports that Safeway Plc lost 0.3 percent in market share in the four weeks ending last December 8, as compared to the same period last year. The company said the decline could be attributed to the fact that its competitors have opened more new stores than Safeway.

    There also are reports -- denied by the company -- that Safeway may be looking for a new CEO. The Daily Telegraph reported over the weekend that the company is looking for someone of “board member caliber” who might be considered as a possible CEO. Management denied speculation that the current CEO, Carlos Criado-Perez, is leaving, noting that he has an excellent compensation package that doesn’t kick in for another couple of years, and “he wants it.”

  • Grocery Gateway CEO Al Sellery Resigns. The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that Al Sellery, who has served as Grocery Gateway’s president and CEO since April 2000, is leaving the dot-com to join a venture capital group.

KC's View:
Regarding Ahold…We admire the sort of relentless focus that you see there. We suspect that van der Hoeven probably has his family marching a little straighter and conducting their personal affairs a little more efficiently these days…

Regarding Wal-Mart…Words like “will actually report lower December sales” generally aren’t tolerated by Wal-Mart management; in fact, just uttering them may be against the law in Bentonville.

Regarding Safeway Plc’s travails…We don’t care what they say. Safeway Plc is going to merge with some other company…though we suspect that its CEO’s “excellent compensation package” will remain intact, regardless.