Ailing Dutch supermarket chain Laurus has axed its chairman and chief executive Ole van der Straaten and parachuted in former Sara Lee executive Jan Konings to take the helm while a replacement is found. Van der Straaten was "suspended with immediate effect" after just a year in the post. The beleaguered chairman recently admitted errors had been made in the execution of the controversial programme to rebadge Laurus' entire store portfolio to a single format ­ a move described by one analyst as "the worst turnaround strategy I have ever seen". The project has been put on ice while managers sort out back office' problems. The company said van der Straaten's dismissal was to counter "the adverse direction in which the group's business has been moving". Laurus has lurched from crisis to crisis in recent weeks, compounded by the departure of several senior executives. Stock has lost two thirds of its value since January. Dismal half-year results published on Tuesday sent the share price to new lows as the company plunged into the red, reporting a first-half net loss of 44 million euros compared to a profit of 37 million euros for the same period last year. Any cost savings were cancelled out by an 11 million euro charge to sort out logistical problems, while the delay in the sale of non-core activities such as its Spar stores dented operating profit by another seven million euros. The company posted an operating loss in Spain and the Netherlands, while the Belgian business broke even at operating level, compared with an operating profit of one million euros last time. Analysts said the dire figures came as no surprise. However,there was some dispute over whether Laurus' plunging share price meant a takeover was on the cards. "The question is," said one analyst, "who would want to fight Ahold on its home ground?" {{NEWS }}