Dutch retail giant Royal Ahold issued a strongly worded press statement late last week denying speculation that Cees van der Hoeven, its former CEO, demanded significant severance pay. The edited statement reads:

In "Barend & Van Dorp, a talk show on Dutch television, of 17 April, 2003, Mr Barend states that Cees van der Hoeven, former CEO of Ahold, demands €5m as severance payment and €5m for repayment of his mortgage. According to Mr Barend this information comes from the Ahold corporate office in Zaandam.

Ahold distances itself from these statements. As announced in a press release dated 21 March, 2003 Ahold and Van der Hoeven did not negotiate about a severance package. Van der Hoeven did not demand any amounts for this purpose.

Parties have jointly agreed that any severance package will be left to an impartial body (arbitration tribunal) that has no ties with Ahold or Van der Hoeven."