European Giants Name New CFOs

Nestlé taps Procter & Gamble group president Paul Polman; Ahold lands British Airways finance chief John Rishton.
Stephen TaubSeptember 26, 2005

Two of the largest European companies named new chief financial officers on Monday.

Paul Polman was tapped as the new finance chief of Switzerland-based Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company. He spent 26 years with Procter & Gamble, most recently as group president of P&G Europe.

He succeeds Wolfgang Reichenberger, who will run a new fund created by Nestlé to help grow new promising businesses in the area of science and nutrition. The fund will invest in companies with products or processes in the final testing stage or about to come on the market.

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“Polman’s knowledge of the industry and his finance background will allow him to continue and to enhance the Nestlé model that combines top-line growth with continuous margin improvement and a better return on capital,” said Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman and chief executive officer of Nestlé, in a statement.

In addition, Netherlands-based supermarket giant Ahold has named John Rishton as chief financial officer, also effective January 1.

Rishton, who joined British Airways in 1994 as financial controller in the United States, has served as BA’s finance chief since 2001.

Ahold, which has been wrestling with an accounting scandal, also announced that chief accounting officer Joost Sliepenbeek has been appointed interim CFO, effective September 1, when Hannu Ryöppönen left the company. Sliepenbeek will report to Peter Wakkie, chief corporate governance counsel and member of the corporate executive board, until Rishton comes on board.

“We are delighted that such an accomplished professional as John will be joining Ahold,” said president and chief executive officer Anders Moberg, in a statement.