herald

Monday 25 September 2017

Aryzta shares soar as chief and 2 execs go

Owen Killian
Owen Killian

Aryzta chairman Gary McGann started the long journey of restoring investor confidence in the troubled Swiss-Irish food group yesterday, announcing the departure of long-serving, embattled chief executive Owen Killian.

Chief financial officer Patrick McEniff and the boss of Aryzta's business in the Americas, John Yamin, will also be leaving the company at the end of its financial year in July.

Warning

Shares in the company rocketed more than 21pc at one stage yesterday, a reflection of how eager investors were for change at Aryzta, whose shares plummeted by a third last month after it issued a profit warning.

That slump knocked about €1.4bn off its market capitalisation.

At its peak, the surge yesterday added as much as 577m Swiss francs (€542m) to the Cuisine de France owner's market cap.

However, with the search for new top brass set to begin, Aryzta is now effectively operating within a power vacuum. Mr McGann - the former chief executive of Smurfit Kappa - is not taking on any interim executive responsibilities.

Investec analyst Ian Hunter said that such a move would have provided some comfort to investors.

Aryzta an nounced three new insider chief operating officer appointments yesterday: Dermot Murphy, Europe; Ronan Minahan, Americas; and Robert O'Boyle for Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

Mr Hunter said he remains optimistic about Aryzta's long-term , but warned that it faces big challenges.

"This is proactive, the board has taken control and we can expect things to move on from there," he said, adding that the changes should have been made earlier.

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