Revealed in Premier Foods’ interim results, Darby said he was stepping down as the business embarks on a new strategy moving forward.
He said: “Having today announced a new strategic initiative for the business, I have decided to step down as CEO on 31st January 2019, which will mark the sixth anniversary of my joining Premier Foods. The Board will now begin a recruitment process for my successor.”
Darby has been in the role for six years and saw the business return to growth from a struggling market position. He spoke to Food Manufacture about his tenure at the helm of Premier Foods and how the strategy of the business has evolved since he took over.
In July, Darby survived a shareholder revolt when stakeholders Oasis Management Company attempted to remove him from the role. At the company’s annual general meeting, he was backed by 59% of the votes, with 41% against him. In a statement, an Oasis spokesperson said: “We welcome Gavin Darby’s departure, and are optimistic about the path ahead. We look forward to Premier Foods accelerating and realising its true potential."
City Index senior market analyst Fiona Cincotta said Darby’s time on top at Premier Foods had peaks and troughs. “Darby can take credit for getting overall group sales growing more consistently and roughly halving Premier Foods’ debt pile since he took the reins in 2013. “But investors weren't easily going to forget the rejection of the McCormick bid, especially with Premier's shares still languishing below 40p more than two years' later.”
Earlier this month, Diageo GB managing director Charles Ireland announced that he is to step down from the role after 20 years at the company. He will be replaced by current managing director for global travel Dayalan Nayager.
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