Food Lion parent will outsource technology jobs in Salisbury to IBM

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 16, 2013

By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — Twenty-nine jobs at Delhaize America’s Salisbury headquarters are going to IBM as part of a deal to outsource some technology functions of Food Lion’s parent company.
A total of 58 Delhaize employees — half in Salisbury and half in Scarborough, Maine — will move to IBM, according to a spokeswoman for Delhaize. About 80 workers will be affected by the change. All of them will be offered employment with IBM for at least six months, according to an internal Delhaize memo that was distributed last week.
All affected associates will have the opportunity to apply for permanent positions with IBM or receive severance, Delhaize said.
“Delhaize America has made the decision to outsource a small number of functions within the Information Technology department,” spokeswoman Christy Phillips-Brown said. “We believe outsourcing these functions to trusted partners will enable us to utilize the technology industry’s best providers of these services and further deliver innovation for our customers and associates.”
Delhaize is outsourcing its data center operations to IBM, according to the memo.
“While these decisions are never easy, we have taken great care to ensure that all associates affected by this decision are treated with respect throughout the entire transition process,” Phillips-Brown told the Post in a statement.
The memo said Delhaize is considering outsourcing its network services, help desk and desktop support functions by year-end but has not finalized those plans.
The outsourcing comes on the heels of executive-level upheaval at Delhaize, where the CEO of Delhaize Europe recently resigned. Stéfan Descheemaeker’s departure came shortly after the CEO of Delhaize America also quit. Roland Smith, whose job was based in Salisbury, left the company after Frans Muller was tapped for the top Delhaize Group CEO job, which Smith reportedly wanted.
Delhaize could lose a third senior executive soon. Retail and grocery industry websites in the United States and Europe and a French newspaper are reporting that Pierre Bouchut, Delhaize Group’s chief financial officer, is apparently the top candidate for the CFO job at Veolia, the world’s largest water and waste management company.
Delhaize has sold three of Food Lion’s sister grocery chains to Bi-Lo — Sweetbay, Reid’s and Harveys. Bi-Lo announced last week that it will convert the Sweetbay stores to Winn-Dixies and rename the Reid’s stores as Bi-Lo.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.