- Ahold Delhaize has appointed Natalie Knight as its executive vice president of finance beginning March 1, 2020, the company announced in a press release. The retailer’s supervisory board will appoint Knight to the role of CFO and a member of the management board at its annual shareholder meeting in April 2020. She will replace current CFO Jeff Carr, whose term expires in April.
- Knight is currently CFO of Danish dairy supplier Arla Foods, where she oversees the company’s finance, legal and IT departments. Prior to Arla, Knight worked at Adidas for 17 years, serving in several financial roles and leading the company's acquisition of Reebok.
- Knight's nomination comes a day after Carr announced he will begin work with consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser next April. The month-long overlap should help Knight transition into the role seamlessly, the company said. Carr announced his plans to leave Ahold Delhaize in September.
Knight has extensive experience in leading operational changes and cost-saving processes for corporations. During her time at Arla Foods, she played a key role in the company’s three-year transformation process called Calcium, which is aimed at helping the company save $454 million by 2020. The program required significant operational changes within many of its departments.
Among her various positions at Adidas, Knight served as CFO of Adidas North America, where she led major cost reductions and operational transformation efforts to help return the company to profitability following the 2008 recession.
Knight’s experience implementing cost-savings programs could prove useful to Ahold Delhaize, which has achieved more than $500 million in cost synergies since its landmark merger.
Her background working in high-level jobs in both the U.S. and Europe could also benefit Ahold Delhaize's cross-continent footprint. Ahold Delhaize’s U.S. banners are typically first or second in market share in the regions where they operate. The company is also pushing store updates, with a multiyear remodel for its Food Lion brand wrapping up as a refresh of its Stop & Shop banner begins.
Savings and restructuring can also be useful if a company is preparing for an acquisition or a significant dip in the market. There's a 27% chance the U.S. will face another recession in the next 12 months according to Bloomberg's recession tracker.