Kat’s return to Detailresult, which arose in 2008 from a merger between the supermarket chains Dirk van den Broek and Dekamarkt, is apparent from the register of the Chamber of Commerce (KvK).
Jan Kat was director at Dekamarkt for decades, and after the merger for several years financial director and chairman of the board of Detailresult. After he and the other founding member Henk van den Broek left the management in 2011, they only remained involved as shareholders.
No family commissioners
Kat and Van den Broek deliberately did not sit on the supervisory board at the time. Already at the merger, they emphasized that no family members would be included in the supervisory body. “We are looking for heavyweights who will not allow themselves to be talked into the corner by family members,” said Van den Broek in NRC Handelsblad.
“We want to gradually create distance,” Kat added. “That is a typical problem of family businesses: you can never let it go. You continue to interfere with it until old age. We want to do that differently.”
At the end of March, Kat suddenly appears to have taken a seat in the supervisory body. There he sits next to Cees van Rijn (ex-Nutreco) and Ton Wortel (ex-The Greenery).
Spokeswoman Fiona Wijnbergen of the supermarket company confirms Kat’s return, and adds that a member of the founding family Van den Broek has also become a supervisory director. However, this is not yet included in the Chamber of Commerce register.
Strings tighter in your hands
The question is why the members of the founding families are now taking more control of the supermarket company with 20,000 employees.
“Detailresult is a family business for families, and the families have always been closely involved in the company. That is also part of our success,” says spokeswoman Wijnbergen. “That is why it has been decided that the shareholders will join the supervisory board. In this way, their involvement, in addition to their ownership, of course, also takes shape.”
However, that does not explain why the founding families now suddenly claimed the supervisory board seats, while in the ten years before they emphatically relinquished those positions.
That timing does not seem coincidental. The supermarket group is experiencing turbulent times. After years of close cooperation, the combination between Dirk and Dekamarkt was largely disentangled in the past six months. According to the company, the two supermarket chains experienced too much trouble from the central control.
A number of key figures from the top resigned, including chairman of the board Albert Voogd. Voogd left at the beginning of May – only a year and a half after his appointment – and was not succeeded. Since then, Detailresult has been under the sole leadership of financial director Bart Oprel.
Finally, in addition to the decentralization and the exodus of directors, Detailresult has still not announced any results for 2020.
Last year, Detailresult filed its annual statements as usual at the beginning of June at the Chamber of Commerce. In 2019, the company generated a net profit of 31 million euros on a net turnover of 2 billion euros.
According to spokeswoman Wijnbergen, the supermarket company will only publish the annual accounts for 2020 in January 2022. “We use the legal term for this.” But there is no answer to the question of why there is such a delay.
According to Wijnbergen, the far-reaching changes at Detailresult have been implemented to allow the two supermarket chains to operate more independently, so that they can become more distinctive. “We think this helps with sharper and faster maneuvering.”
But she also remains indebted to the question of whether the family is taking more control of the company because of these turbulent developments.