On Thursday, the company named Sander van der Laan chief executive officer. Effective Nov. 1, he will succeed Tina Müller in the role, as she resigned after five years to join the firm’s supervisory board.
Van der Laan hails from Dutch retailer Action, where he was CEO for more than six years. Under his leadership, the firm’s sales increased from 2 billion euros to more than 5 billion euros, also propelled by an international expansion in 10 European countries, a further development of the brand and product range and the successful implementation of its digital interface.
Previously, van der Laan spent 16 years covering different management positions at the listed retail company Ahold Delhaize, and was most recently CEO of leading Dutch retail chain Albert Heijn. During this time, he was responsible for the transformation of Albert Heijn into a multichannel brand and headed the company’s expansion into new markets.
“Sander van der Laan has extensive management expertise in the retail sector combined with an outstanding track record in driving sales, marketing, supply chain management and digitalization. Within a few years, he significantly increased Action’s sales and operating profit. This makes him an ideal candidate to lead Douglas into the next phase,” Kreke said. In particular, the new chapter of the business will include “optimizing backbone processes to match the e-commerce business, fully integrating the pharmacy portfolio, and further strengthening profitability.”
In thanking Müller, Kreke underscored she “has redefined Douglas’ strategy and successfully driven the company’s transformation into Europe’s leading digital premium beauty platform.”
“Tina Müller has laid an excellent foundation: She has geared Douglas towards a modern and digital direction. At the same time, she has tripled e-commerce sales, achieved record sales and an excellent result this year after steering the company safely through the pandemic,” said Alexander Dibelius, CEO Germany of CVC, the majority shareholder of Douglas.
Since she was appointed the retailer’s CEO in 2017, Müller put a strong focus on e-commerce, repositioned Douglas with a brand relaunch and refined the shopping experience in the stores. She also helmed the restructuring of the European store network and laid the foundation for the company’s expansion into the growing online pharmacy market with the acquisition of the Dutch mail-order pharmacy Disapo.
“Douglas has undergone an extraordinary development in the last few years,” van der Laan said. “I am looking forward to contributing my experience and continuing the company’s success story together with an accomplished team.”
Douglas is among the largest premium beauty sellers in Europe, offering nearly 300,000 beauty, health and lifestyle products in online shops, the partner program and around 1,900 stores.
In its 2020-21 fiscal year, the company generated sales of 3.1 billion euros in the areas of perfumery, cosmetics, skin and hair care as well as nutritional supplements, health and accessories.