In today’s e-dition of MaineBiz, I just read that my predictions two years ago are ending up being true! And I wished it was not happening…
As you probably know, Delhaize America is the parent company of Hannaford Bros. Co. supermarkets, a large chain of supermarkets and one of Maine biggest employer (if not the biggest). And it has just been announced that Delhaize America has cut 15 vice president positions, six of which were based in Scarborough, ME.
It has been confirmed by the Bangor Daily News and by the trade publication Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer that acquired an internal memo about a Delhaize restructuring plan that details a 25% reduction in the company’s officer positions. The changes are intended to help the company increase efficiency and meet revenue goals.
Back in late 2011, in one of our blog posts following a lunch with Governor Paul LePage, I mentioned that I had asked him “when was the last time a Maine official had met with the CEO of Delhaize Group in Belgium, the company who owns Hannaford …. Headquartered in Scarbourough, ME, Hannaford started to consolidate its operation with Delhaize America in North Carolina, in 2010. This would be enough to me to fly to Belgium to understand what it means and how it will evolve. Needless to say, no one ever met Delhaize’s management in Belgium in the past….”. And probably nobody went there afterwards. The result is there: more VP jobs lost for Maine, it’s the second wave already! And probably many more to come… and the town of Salisbury, North Carolina gets to be the headquarter for Delhaize America, not Scarborough, ME! It might not be obvious for some of you but I think it’s clear what the strategy to turnaround and grow Delhaize America is. It might involve more supermarkets in Maine but not too many executives, administrative or logistics.
And this happens after Fairchild Semiconductor did the same thing a few months ago. And a few weeks after the maker of Jim Beam are closing the former White Rock facility in Lewiston, just after they purchased it and laying off 160 workers. And Barber Foods who laid off workers after they were sold to an out-of- state group. And so many other examples (some I am not even allowed to comment on)…
In the meantime, no influx of large corporations came to Maine.
What’s the solution? Not sure but we better find one soon.