van der Laan replaces Tina Müller in the role, who recently announced her decision to step down from the position. Müller will join the group's supervisory board, following her five-year tenure as chief executive.
van der Laan served as the chief executive of non-food retailer Action for six years, during which time its sales rose from €2 billion to more than €5 billion. At Acton, he also led the way in terms of expanding the business into ten European countries, as well as establishing the company's digital interface.
Prior to that, he spent 16 years with Ahold Delhaize in various management positions, most notably as chief executive of the Albert Heijn supermarket banner, where he led the brand's transition to a multi-channel retail brand.
“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 digitalisation," commented Henning Kreke, chairman of the supervisory board of Douglas.
"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. In particular, this will include optimising backbone processes to match the e-commerce business, fully integrating the pharmacy portfolio, and further strengthening profitability."
Müller Steps Down
Müller leaves her position having 'successfully realigned Douglas' strategy', the company said in a statement, adding that she led a major brand relaunch, enhanced the shopping experience in its stores, and restructured both its European store network and online pharmacy business.
"In the last years, she has redefined Douglas' strategy and successfully driven the company's transformation into Europe's leading digital premium beauty platform," Kreke added. "We are very pleased that we will continue to benefit from her expertise and experience as a member of the supervisory board.”
Commenting on his new role, van der Laan said that he was "looking forward to contributing my experience and continuing the company's success story together with an accomplished team".