The fact that Jumbo has to do without its director and signboard Frits van Eerd for the time being is not a disaster, according to experts. As long as it is only temporary, because despite the ‘broad and expert management’, a leader is needed who makes decisions. “You can’t live without an active CEO for more than six months.”

    Last week, Frits van Eerd indicated that he would temporarily step down as director of Jumbo. The CEO is involved in a money laundering investigation. The police raided his house in Heeswijk-Dinther and Van Eerd was held in a police cell for five days. He is still seen as a suspect by law enforcement.

    At the beginning of this year, Jumbo made a number of changes to the management. The structure of the day-to-day management has changed: financial director Ton van Veen and formula director Colette Cloosterman-Van Eerd transferred to the Supervisory Board. That’s not bad, according to experts.

    “This house will remain standing for a while without Van Eerd.”

    “They have redistributed the tasks and put the right people in the right places for the future,” explains Steven Schuit. The emeritus professor at Nyenrode Business University in Breukelen: “This house will remain standing for a while without Frits van Eerd.”

    But the absence of the director and the face of Jumbo cannot last ‘endlessly’, according to him. “A few months is fine, but you need an active CEO,” Schuit thinks. “If a company has a good board composition, it is best to miss someone for a while. After all, you do it all together.”

    “The timing is very unfortunate.”

    Retail expert Paul Moers agrees. “But the timing of the temporary withdrawal of Frits van Eerd is very unfortunate for Jumbo, especially with everything that is going on.” With this Moers is referring to, among other things, the economy that is ‘crushing together’ and consumers who have less to spend. “Jumbo’s profitability is declining.”

    According to Moers, there are more challenges for the group with its head office in Veghel. “For example, the acquired HEMA has to be pulled out of the doldrums. That is a colossal and very difficult job in the current market. Furthermore, restaurant chain La Place is not doing well.”

    “With a clean face, I see him return soon.”

    Both experts think that Frits van Eerd will remain involved with Jumbo in the background, but think it is smart that he is in the shelter for a while. “Whether he can return quickly depends on the investigation and the Supervisory Board. If he has done nothing wrong, he will return,” says Professor Schuit.

    Despite the challenges Jumbo has, according to Paul Moers there is no need or other CEO in the short term. “It’s really about keeping the ship on course, because I don’t expect major acquisitions.” According to Stefan Schuit, internal quarrels, a takeover bid for Jumbo itself or other calamities would immediately require a CEO, but that is completely out of the question now.

    “Jumbo itself has people who can temporarily babysit the store.”

    According to both experts, someone who temporarily takes over the tasks of Frits van Eerd is certainly a possibility after a few months. “I just don’t think they want someone from outside,” says Moers. “Frits’s sister Collette, but Ton van Veen also really know what to do. Jumbo therefore has people internally who can look after the store.”

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