"Busy job, busy family life - the best of both worlds"

Thomas Pons

Director NFR Sourcing Development & Intelligence

Director NFR Sourcing Development & Intelligence

As a young boy, Thomas Pons dreamed of becoming a construction manager or a project developer. After obtaining his master’s in real estate and housing, he started his career as a strategy & operations consultant at a global consulting firm. Albert Heijn was one of his clients. He developed a particular fondness for their work because of their extensive and very interesting real estate portfolio. When he came across a job opening in Ahold Delhaize’s Not for Resale (NfR) team, he didn’t have to think twice and immediately applied. “I get to work with the smartest people and take part in projects that really have an impact. Just two of the reasons why I love my work as much as I do.”

When his work challenges him with a complex puzzle and gives him the freedom to come up with solutions, Thomas is at his happiest. In his role as Director NfR Development & Intelligence, he gets these sorts of opportunities every day. “Our team is based across six countries and is part of the European Business Services (EBS) organization. Team members come from all over the world; we’re a very international bunch. It’s amazing to see the different perspectives and approaches to problems that everybody brings to the table. We don’t embrace diversity and inclusion because it’s a requirement. We embrace it because it’s incredibly valuable and really brings out the best in a team – I get to experience this first-hand every day.”

Supported by this diverse group of people, Thomas and the NfR department facilitate the business operations of all of the European Ahold Delhaize brands by sourcing the indirect goods and services they need. “The domain we operate in is very much behind the scenes. Most customers won’t actually see our work, but to us, it’s extremely visible. It shows up in the form of, for example, new packaging for our private label products, a new promotions leaflet or new shopping carts and baskets – all initiatives that the NfR department sources and implements. Every time I walk into an Albert Heijn store, I see the direct impact of our work.”

Significant milestones worth celebrating

One NfR development he’s particularly proud of is the roll-out of ‘Dry Misting’ technology in various Albert Heijn stores, executed in close collaboration with the company’s local brands.


“This innovative system started in Albert Heijn’s fresh produce section. Not only does it retain the freshness, color and nutrients of the products; it also contributes significantly to food waste reduction. Albert Heijn started using Dry Misting in the Netherlands and now we are now rolling it out all over Europe. The NfR team was involved in supplier discovery, decision-making, and we initiated and evaluated in-store pilots. This example is exactly what I’m talking about when I say ‘my job has a real impact’.” 

Another milestone that’s currently in the making is Ahold Delhaize’s transition to 100% renewable energy. “We’re currently setting up power purchase agreements with energy providers, which will enable us to draw on their renewable sources. If this all works out, I could be driving past a windmill park in a few years time and know that it might not have existed without us.”

When asked what makes him good at his job, Thomas smiles. “I think I’m good at motivating people and encouraging them to take action. Not everything our department proposes is received with great enthusiasm right from the start.

Sometimes we have to overcome a bit of resistance within the organization. I think I have the skills to convince people of the advantages of something and the ability to help others learn how to be convincing, too. This is important because we can only truly achieve success when everybody is on board.”

His talent for motivating and convincing people isn’t only useful at work; it definitely comes in handy in his personal life, too. With three young children, life at home can be hectic, to say the least. “Often by the time I have my first morning meeting, I’ve already had a full day. Boaz, the eldest, has to be dropped off at school and Hadewych, our middle child, at daycare. On the way, baby Tessel also has to be taken to one of her grandparents. And somewhere in and amongst all of that, I try to work out – something I aim to do at least three times a week. With a family of young children, there’s certainly never a dull moment. Spending time with them gives me so much joy.”

Fortunately, Thomas finds himself working for a company that doesn’t only fully understand the value of family time, but also wholeheartedly encourages employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. “It was one of the things that struck me when I started working for Ahold Delhaize: how much they really care about their people. The company is also fully output driven. No one questions what I’ve been doing with my morning if I arrive at the office at 11am, which I sometimes do to avoid traffic – on a good day, the commute from my home in Vlaardingen to work takes an hour, but in traffic can take up to 2.5 hours. Similarly, nobody looks at me strangely when I leave at 3pm – again, because of traffic. That’s what I love most about working for Ahold Delhaize: the fact that I can have the best of both worlds – a productive job with enormous scope and impact and a busy, rewarding family life.”



Name: Thomas Pons (1984)
Started working at Ahold Delhaize: December 2016
Studied: MSc Real Estate and Housing (Delft University of Technology, 2011)
Living with: My girlfriend, Sharon, and our children, Boaz, Hadewych and Tessel 
Hobbies: Playing sports (CrossFit and weightlifting) and spending time with my family
Wake me up in the middle of the night for: I’d rather not wake up for anything! Please let me sleep
Favorite holiday destination: Southeast Asia
Life-changing event: The birth of my children
Biggest source of inspiration: Learning something new
Best advice I’ve ever received: Don’t take work too seriously – we’re not saving lives here

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