Cees van der Hoeven forced out

Less than a year ago Ahold chief executive Cees van der Hoeven promised greater transparency at the world's third biggest grocer.

On Monday, he was ousted as Ahold disclosed a disastrous overstatement of income from its US Foodservice business.

Speaking to analysts last April, he and chief finance officer Micheal Meurs - also ousted - sought to warm a frosty investment community after a change in accounting procedures resulted in a profits drop of 90 per cent.

Van der Hoeven said then: 'We want to be absolutely sure that we restore total credibility and we will feed you with all the details of our business to satisfy every one of you.'

He added: 'We realise that we have fallen short of the transparency requirements that the market demands today. We will step to the plate and deliver as we have always done.'

By September, the message from the pair was stronger still. Van der Hoeven was reported in the Wall Street Journal as saying: 'There are no accounting issues in Ahold.'

And at last year's Goldman Sachs retail conference in New York Meurs sought to reassure investors: 'Ahold is in good shape after a difficult year.'