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BRUSSELS, June 24 (Reuters) - Belgian supermarkets group Delhaize has appointed the former president of retail operations of U.S. grocery group SUPERVALU as the head of Delhaize America after a nine-month search.
Kevin Holt will take up his post at chief executive officer for Delhaize America on July 7, Delhaize said in a statement late on Monday.
The U.S. business, which accounts for some 60 percent of Delhaize's revenue, has been without a chief since September.
Previous U.S. boss Roland Smith resigned on September 4, the same day that Delhaize announced that the former head of German retailer Metro Frans Muller would take over as CEO of the whole group.
Delhaize shares were trading up 1.0 percent at 0730 GMT, making it one of the strongest performers in a largely flat STOXX European retail index.
"It has taken surprisingly long to find a replacement," said Bank Degroof analyst Hans D'Haese. "At first sight, it seems like a good name. He's the kind of person they need, with experience in America."
Delhaize has some 3,500 stores, of which about 1,500 are in the United States, stretching from Georgia to Maine including the Food Lion, Bottom Dollar and Hannaford chains.
SUPERVALU has 3,400 owned, licensed, franchised and affiliated stores across the United States, its own stores operating as Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher's, Shop 'n Save and Shoppers as well as the Save-a-Lot discount chain. (Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Jason Neely)