Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 5°C

min temp: 1°C

ESTD 1874 Search

UK: Premier Food shares slump on new of chief’s departure

10:53 28 January 2013

Hovis maker Premier Foods has announced the surprise departure of its chief executive

Hovis maker Premier Foods has announced the surprise departure of its chief executive

THE boss of Hovis and Mr Kipling owner Premier Foods has quit just 18 months into a major turnaround of the debt-laden food group, it emerged today.

The departure of Michael Clarke, who joined the company from Kraft Foods in 2011, shocked the City, with Premier’s shares slumping by more than 9% in early trading.

Premier moved swiftly to replace Mr Clarke by announcing the appointment of Gavin Darby, who was the boss of Cable & Wireless Worldwide until its takeover last year. He spent 15 years in senior leadership roles at Coca-Cola before joining Vodafone in 2001.

The company said Mr Clarke, who is leaving in order to pursue other business opportunities, had delivered the initial turnaround of the company and set it on a course for sustainable profitable growth.

However, Clive Black, retail analyst at Shore Capital, said he could not hide his disappointment at Mr Clarke’s departure.

He said: “The remedial work that he undertook to fundamentally allow Premier to survive merits commendation.

“However, that he is going just as the business needs to press on in a new chapter more dependent upon organic growth and trading than structural commercial engineering may be a concern.”

Premier has been struggling under a £1.3billion debt mountain following a spending spree which included Mr Kipling owner RHM, although it now looks to be on the mend after a “landmark” £1.4bn refinancing deal last year.

Mr Clarke’s turnaround plan for the group included the sale of a number of businesses, including its Branston pickle and Haywards picked onions businesses in Bury St Edmunds, to focus on eight “power brands”, including Ambrosia and Bisto.

Premier chairman David Beever said Mr Clarke and his team had done a “first class job” in stabilising the business and generating momentum in a challenging market.

Mr Darby will take the top job from February 4. He said he planned to invest a significant sum in Premier shares and looked forward to developing and growing Premier’s power brands in the coming years.

Last year Mr Clarke called for Britons to support the economic recovery by buying British brands.

Related articles

Search hundreds of local jobs at Jobs24

0 comments

Greene King's latest survey of leisure spending shows households spent more on eating and drinking out last Christmas.

Britons pushed the boat out over the festive period, spending more on eating and drinking out of the home compared with a year earlier, according to the latest Greene King Leisure Spend Tracker report.

Ipswich estate agent Tom Orford who is running the London Marathon in April  to raise funds for The Lymphoma Association cancer charity

Ipswich-based estate agent Tom Orford is taking on his greatest sporting challenge - to raise money for The Lymphoma Association.

Employees at Richard Western Ltd near Framlingham have been studying for a Business Improvements NVQ. They all met the required standard.

A Suffolk factory has reported improved output after all its staff were enrolled on an 18-month team-building course.

Royal Mail has revealed a sharp drop in letter mailing in the busy festive season, leaving the number of addressed letters down 6% in the nine months to December 25.
Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Royal Mail has revealed a sharp fall in letter mailing during the busy festive season, blaming business worries over Brexit hitting marketing post.

Community leaders fear the park and ride will bring more traffic into Wickham Market. Credit: Mike Page

Park and ride proposals linked with Suffolk’s new nuclear power station are anticipated to more than double traffic volumes through parts of a village – causing “extreme concern” for residents.

Management Jobs

Show Job Lists

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24