The revelations of widespread accounting fraud at various subsidiaries of the Dutch retail group Ahold have not only done little to improve the company's standing, but they have also taken an increasingly heavy toll on employees at the company.
The initial scandal surrounding the US Foodservice business and the Argentine unit Disco cost the jobs of Ahold's chief executive Cees van der Hoeven and chief financial officer Michael Meurs, while US Foodservice's head Jim Miller hung on for slightly longer before carrying the can for the transgressions of his executives.
But this was not the end of the story, with investigations still ongoing at a number of Ahold units, and yesterday the Dutch group confirmed that yet another senior executive has resigned from his post because of the fraud allegations.
This time the subsidiary concerned is Tops Markets, one of the US supermarket chains operated by Ahold, whose CEO Frank Curci has been forced to stand down because of the discovery of accounting irregularities.
Curci had served as president and CEO of Tops Markets since 2000 and was preparing to take a new role as chief operating officer at another Ahold unit, Giant Food-Landover.
"In Curci's role as Tops Markets' CEO, he held responsibility for oversight and control of the business. As such, it was not appropriate for him to assume his new role at Giant-Landover and therefore Curci tendered his resignation," said William Grize, head of Ahold USA.
Max Henderson has assumed the role of executive vice president and general manager at Tops, reporting to Tony Schiano, president and CEO of Giant Food Stores, another Ahold USA company. Giant-Landover does not plan to fill the chief operating officer position at this time, the company said.
Ahold announced in May that it had unearthed accounting irregularities at Tops of around $29 million, on top of the $880 million at US Foodservice.
These revelations are having an increasingly damaging effect on Ahold, which was once one of the most well-respected food retailers in the world. The company has already been forced to sell off a number of units, notably in South America, and its operations in Asia and eastern Europe, unaffected by the scandal and continuing to grow strongly, may have to be sold simply to redress balance in Ahold's profits.
The fact that these units - if sold - are almost certain to go to one of Ahold's major rivals such as Tesco or Carrefour will undoubtedly make it an even more bitter pill to swallow.