Royal Ahold, the international food provider, announced today that Gerard van Breen, Senior Vice President Global Sourcing, will also take full responsibility for European sourcing, effective October 18, 2000. In this capacity, he succeeds Harry Bruijniks, who was recently appointed President & CEO of Ahold operations in Thailand.Van Breen will continue to head up Ahold's global sourcing activities. These include the company's involvement with the WorldWide Retail Exchange (WWRE), the B2B internet marketplace of which Ahold is a founding member and that currently comprises close to 40 retailers and thousands of suppliers.In his European role, Van Breen becomes a member of Ahold's European Competence Center, that promotes cooperation among Ahold operating units in Europe and ensures synergies are generated. Sourcing plays a key role in this process. Van Breen continues as President of AMS, the marketing alliance of 11 leading European food retailers, including Ahold.Together with sourcing and marketing executives from the company's European operations, Van Breen will continue to focus on boosting benefits from Ahold's increasing economies of scale. Internal synergy and the sharing of know-how and experience, regionally and worldwide, already contribute significantly to Ahold's performance.Ahold now has annualized European sales of over Euro 20 billion and exceeds the Euro 50 billion mark worldwide. The company has over 7,000 supermarkets, hypermarkets and other store formats in 23 countries and serves 30 million customers every week.