The top job at the bread firm has been vacant since the departure of Bob Spooner in January this year after an announcement in October citing a move abroad. Chief financial officer Michael Kennedy also left in January to be replaced by Mark Stanworth, who joined Hovis from the Mayborn Group as interim chief financial officer during the recruitment process.
However, equity research analyst Darren Shirley of Shore Capital believes the top job at the historic bread maker is still a desirable position - despite rumours the company is struggling to fill the job.
He told British Baker: “It is a reasonably high-profile job and I wouldn’t suggest that there would be a lack of candidates. If [the next chief executive] could find a good way to engineer recovery they could make a pretty sizable name for themselves in the industry.”
And, commenting on whether Hovis can turn its performance around, he said: “It is going to be a challenge, isn’t it? It is up against two good brands and two good competitors. Warburtons is probably the strongest of the three and Kingsmill, which is maybe not as strong, has got the financial support of Associated British Foods (ABF) behind it, even though it is a relatively small part of ABF. Never say never, but it is not something we would expect to be done quickly.”
Premier Foods sold a controlling stake into the bread brand last year to the Gores Group. The move was quickly followed by £80m worth of investment by GE Capital.