Ahold boss Cees van der Hoeven has announced plans to withdraw from the boards of Dutch banks ABN Amro and Royal KPN to devote more of his time to his core business.

Van der Hoeven, who has held positions on the board of both companies since the late 1990s, will step down from their boards in Spring 2003.

Ahold has recently warned full-year earnings could fall by up to 8% and announced plans to get rid of non-core businesses after a dismal year dogged by problems in its South American operations.

Van der Hoeven said: “Because of Ahold´s ambitious plans for the coming years I have decided to give my undivided attention to the company and reduce my other activities to the minimum. I have been very honored to serve for many years on the Supervisory Boards of two great companies."