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ZAANDAM, The Netherlands -- A key architect of Ahold's ongoing "Road to Recovery" turnaround strategy is leaving the global retailer, to pursue a new career in a different industry.
Hannu Ryöppönen, who joined Ahold in July of 2003 as c.f.o., will join Stora Enso in September, as c.f.o. and deputy to the c.e.o. Ryöppönen will remain with Ahold through Aug. 31.
Stora Enso is a publicly listed Finnish-Swedish integrated paper, packaging and forest products group. Ryöppönen will be based in its London office.
"I regret Hannu is leaving the company," said Anders Moberg, Ahold's president and c.e.o. "His achievements during the Road to Recovery have been instrumental in getting the company back on track. However, I quite understand that this is an interesting opportunity for Hannu, and London will be his homebase again. I would like to thank Hannu for his considerable contribution to our company in difficult times, and wish him all the best in this new challenge."
Ryöppönen joined Ahold at a time when the retail conglomerate's recovery strategy was just taking shape. Moberg said he played a significant role in restoring the financial health of the company, citing Ryöppönen's leadership during the completion of several key initiatives, including Ahold's ambitious divestment program. As a consequence of the c.f.o.'s efforts, the company's net debt position improved substantially, while a new unsecured credit facility with much better terms and conditions was recently obtained, Moberg said.
The search for Ryöppönen's successor is underway, the company said.