Etos director argues with Ahold to move to HEMA
The transfer of Etos director Saskia Egas Reparaz to HEMA has turned into a legal conflict. Ahold Delhaize, owner of Etos, holds Egas Reparaz to the non-competition clause in her contract, which means that it could take months before she can start at her new employer.
She does not accept that and has hired a lawyer, various sources reported NRC. Negotiations on a settlement agreement are stuck. Egas Reparaz, who still has a contract until March 1, has since been suspended by the company. Those involved declined to comment substantively on the matter.
The switch of Egas Reparaz from the Ahold group to HEMA is a sensitive one. As of this month, HEMA has new owners: Jumbo family Van Eerd and investment company Parcom. Supermarket chain Jumbo is the largest competitor of market leader Albert Heijn, the most important subsidiary of Ahold Delhaize. As Etos director, Egas Reparaz was part of the leadership team of Ahold Delhaize.
Parcom and Mississippi Ventures – the investment vehicle of the Van Eerd family – announced last week that Egas Reparaz would succeed Tjeerd Jegen, the current CEO of HEMA. When she starts, was not stated.
It now appears that this is because Ahold Egas Reparaz wants to keep its non-competition clause. The Etos director has in her contract that she cannot immediately switch to a company with activities that compete with those of Ahold Delhaize. The Zaan concern is of the opinion that the clause applies because HEMA sells cosmetics just like Etos. As far as Ahold is concerned, Egas Reparaz therefore has to wait six months before she can take over the leadership at HEMA.
In concrete terms, this would mean that the new top woman may only start at HEMA on 1 September. That poses a problem for the new owners. Current CEO Jegen has indicated that he wants to stay on for a while, but not until the autumn. He would like to leave HEMA around the summer, which is suffering a lot from the corona crisis.
The issue leads to surprise and irritation among the owners of HEMA, say those involved. “Cosmetics may account for 10 percent of HEMA’s turnover, which is also closed. Etos is open as usual. How can you then speak of a non-competition clause?”, says a source around Mississippi and Parcom.
The atmosphere between HEMA and Ahold Delhaize has been tense in recent weeks. HEMA CEO Jegen lashed out on LinkedIn last month after Albert Heijn announced that it would sell towels at low prices. He accused the supermarket of a lack of solidarity now that many retail chains have been forced to close their doors. After a conversation with Jegen, Albert Heijn stopped the promotion.
What will happen now is unclear. Those involved say they want to avoid a lawsuit, but do not rule out that possibility.