He is to succeed John Bason, who will be retiring as finance director after 23 years in the role and stepping down from the ABF board. Bason will stay on in the role in order to facilitate a smooth transition, before moving on the become chairman of Primark’s Strategic Advisory Board.
Tonge is currently chief financial officer and chief strategy Officer at Marks and Spencer Group, a position he has held since May 2022, having joined as Chief Financial Officer in June 2020.
Prior to his time with the retailer, Tonge was chief financial officer of Greencore Group from 2016 to 2020 and, before that, was managing director for the prepared foods and ready meals manufacturer's grocery division and chief strategy officer.
Tonge will join the business with a start date to be agreed but no later than February 2023.
Commenting on Tonge’s appointment, ABF chief executive George Weston said: “His extensive knowledge and experience of both retail and food industries along with his energy and broad understanding of business make him an ideal successor to John as Finance Director.”
Goodbye and welcome
Chairman Michael McLintock thanked Bason for his time as finance director and joined Weston in welcoming Tonge to the business.
Tonge added: “ABF has a prestigious heritage, a strong sense of purpose and an exciting portfolio of diverse businesses. I am looking forward to working with the management teams to meet the challenges ahead and drive growth.”
Meanwhile, ABF revealed that its food division has proved resilient despite the challenges face by the business in its interim results for the 24 weeks ended 5 March 2022.
ABF said that it had made moves in cost reduction and pricing action had been taken but there was a lag in recovery of cost inflation.