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Premier Foods CEO Gavin Darby To Step Down

Published on Nov 13 2018 9:14 AM

Premier Foods CEO Gavin Darby To Step Down

Premier Foods Chief Executive Gavin Darby is stepping down, ending a tenure rocked by a shareholder revolt earlier this year to oust him following a botched takeover attempt of the British packaged food maker.

The company also said on Tuesday it was working to identify strategic opportunities to speed up its turnaround and was in talks with third parties to sell its Ambrosia rice pudding and custards brand.

Darby, who has led the Oxo stock cube-maker since 2013, won more time in July to revive the ailing food maker, whose shares have fallen by a third since U.S. food maker McCormick abandoned a takeover approach in 2016.

Premier Foods' top shareholder, Japan's Nissin Foods Holdings had then backed Darby, even as second-largest investor and vocal critic Oasis Management urged shareholders to vote against him at a general meeting.

Search For Successor

Darby will step down from the top job and as a director of the company with effect from 31 January, and the board will start its search for a successor.

The company, which traces its history back to the early 19th century, has been looking to cut costs as part of a two-year plan launched in 2017 by laying off people and streamlining its warehousing and distribution network.

The company said on Tuesday it would step up investments in marketing and high-return capital projects, adding that it was pursuing options to fund these plans while also delivering "a meaningful reduction" in net debt.

Trading Profit 

The maker of Mr Kipling cakes and Bisto gravy maintained its profit expectations for the full year. Analysts on average had estimated trading profit of £126 million according to company provided consensus.

Trading profit rose 6.3% to £51 million in the 26 weeks ended 29 September from £48 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 1.3% to £358 million.

News by Reuters, edited by Checkout, edited by Donna Ahern. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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