Albert Heijn Jr. passed away last Friday at his Pudleston Court castle in England at age 83. The man dedicated his life to the growth of his business. A small convenience store which once was started by his grandfather in Zaandam in the Netherlands was brought by Albert Heijn Jr. to one of the largest convenience store chains in the world.
Albert helped to grow the chain of shops known as Ahold– which he inherited from his grandfather– to a flourishing multinational with outlets in many countries including the United States. Albert Heijn Jr. was from 1962 till 1989 the CEO and from 1989 till 1997 part of the board of directors.
In 1987 his brother Gerrit Jan Heijn was kidnapped and killed. After weeks of uncertainty the killers escaped with a ransom of unknown capital. The crime shocked the Netherlands and became an international man hunt. The killers were never prosecuted.
Albert Heijn Jr. was the inventor and brainchild behind many innovations in the supermarket branch. Barcoding items and including these barcodes into the supplychain was partially invented in the Albert Heijn Corporation. Albert Heijn was also the first corporation to introduce self service in their shops.
According to the current CEO of Ahold John Rishton: “Albert Heijn Jr.was a charismatic leader with a warm and gentle character. A man who was proud to be convenience store owner. Customers and staff always were his first concern.”
Dutch Minister of Economical Affairs Maxime Verhagen called Albert Heijn Jr. one of the godfathers of the Dutch business economy. “He was the statue for the true Dutch entrepreneurial spirit.”