Ahold Delhaize on Monday announced the creation of a new entity, Peapod Digital Labs, which it said would drive digital and e-commerce innovation, technology and experience to meet the changing needs of customers of its local brands.
JJ Fleeman has been named president of Peapod Digital Labs as well as Ahold Delhaize's chief e-commerce officer.
The new entity will also oversee Peapod, Ahold Delhaize’s e-commerce retailer. Peapod will continue to be led by its president, Walt Lentz, who took over leadership of the unit when former CEO Jennifer Carr-Smith departed in September. Lentz will now report to Fleeman.
Peapod has been at work on its pricing and other capabilities as it adjusts to an e-commerce space with more competition for shoppers, including rapid expansion of click-and-collect efforts and partnerships such as the Kroger-Ocado deal announced last week.
“We are excited about this new company, which will serve as the engine that powers our U.S. e-commerce and digital strategies,” said Kevin Holt, CEO of Ahold Delhaize USA. “As one of the largest grocery retailers and a market leader in home delivery on the East Coast, the great local brands of Ahold Delhaize USA have a strong heritage of innovation. The creation of Peapod Digital Labs and appointment of JJ to lead the new company and serve as chief e-commerce officer will enable us to sharpen our focus on leveraging the size and scale of the U.S. brands to provide customers with a personalized and effortless shopping experience."
The retailer said Peapod Digital Labs will accelerate growth in digital and personalization capabilities for the local brands of Ahold Delhaize USA, and will serve as the innovation lab for the U.S. portfolio of companies. It will also oversee the local brand Peapod, already the nation's largest online grocery retailer, which is headquartered in Chicago.
“Ahold Delhaize USA is creating Peapod Digital Labs, which will drive market-leading digital and e-commerce capabilities to power the company's six local brands as they create best-in-class customer experiences,” said Fleeman. “We have a tremendous opportunity to build upon Peapod's longstanding history of innovating to meet consumers' needs to create an unparalleled omnichannel grocery experience. Whether it’s searching for inspiration on meals, shopping online or driving digital and personalization in-store, Peapod Digital Labs will enhance the digital experience to the benefit of U.S. consumers.”
Fleeman most recently served as EVP of commercial services and strategy for Ahold Delhaize USA's newly established support services company, Retail Business Services. Prior to that, Fleeman was chief strategy and development officer for Delhaize America, and played a key role as the global integration and program leader for Delhaize Group during the merger that created Ahold Delhaize. He also led the creation of a digital center of excellence at Delhaize America. Throughout his career, Fleeman has held a diverse array of senior level roles in strategy, marketing, operations and merchandising.
Ahold Delhaize USA will build out Peapod Digital Labs in the coming months and expects to have the new organization fully operational by year-end.