Troubled Dutch retail giant Ahold has announced that it has accepted the resignation of Jim Miller, president and chief executive officer of the company’s US food distribution unit U.S. Foodservice.

Miller, who will also step down from being a member of the corporate executive board of Ahold, has served as president and CEO of U.S. Foodservice since 1997, and was appointed to the Ahold corporate executive board in 2001.

Ahold’s supervisory board said it had taken this decision in light of the results of the forensic accounting work conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which had identified total overstatements of pre-tax earnings of approximately US$880m. The company said that the internal legal investigation into accounting irregularities at U.S. Foodservice and the possible involvement of U.S. Foodservice personnel continues in close cooperation with the PricewaterhouseCoopers’ forensic accounting work.

Ahold met today to confront shareholders at their annual general meeting near The Hague, and debate Miller’s future.

Before meeting with shareholders, who are bound to have a lot of questions about the company’s difficulties, the company’s supervisory board was due to meet to discuss the way forward for U.S. Foodservice. Ahold’s problems were triggered by the revelation of accounting irregularities at the American foodservice division earlier this year.

Media reports had predicted that the supervisory board would request Miller to tender his resignation, thereby accepting a large share of the responsibility for not noticing the overstatement of profit. A resignation on Miller’s part may appease some shareholders, who have seen the value of their holdings in Ahold plummet since the accounting scandal emerged.

Later in the day Ahold shareholders will be asked to appoint Dudley Eustace as interim finance director and Philips executive Jan Hommen to the supervisory board, reported Reuters.

Ahold said that until a new CEO for U.S. Foodservice is named, Robert G. Tobin will serve as interim chief executive officer. Tobin is a member of the Ahold supervisory board and is the former chairman and CEO of Stop & Shop, which he joined in 1960. In 1998 he was appointed president and CEO of Ahold USA as well as to the Ahold corporate executive board from which he retired in 2001.