Aryzta has announced a top-level management shake-up, with chief executive Owen Killian among a trio of senior figures to leave the bakery business.

Killian, chief financial officer Patrick McEniff, and Americas CEO John Yamin have all resigned and are expected to leave their roles by the end of July.

The shake-up follows a period of trading that had been described as “both unexpected and extremely disappointing” by Killian last month.

Following a review of five months of trading, ending December 2016, the business had reported a 20% drop in underlying earnings per share. It blamed the underperformance on weakness in its North American operations compounding an anticipated decline in Europe because of the ongoing commissioning of a German bakery and the impact of Brexit.

At the time, Killian said: “We know it will take a recovery followed by a period of sustainable growth to re-establish investor confidence. The Aryzta board and management teams are committed to returning the business to solid performance and growth and dealing with the challenges presented.”

The company today (14 February) said the board and executive management were working together on a transition to a new leadership team, adding it would “engage a leading international recruitment firm to identify the highest-calibre candidates for these important roles”.

In addition to the management team departures, Aryzta announced it had secured “enhanced financial flexibility”.

The business has increased the covenant headroom under its senior revolving credit facility from 3.5 times net debt to EBITDA, to four times net debt to EBITDA.

“Aryzta has a highly cash generative business and, following a period of investment, is now in a period of strong free cash generation, with a focus on net debt reduction,” it added.

Aryzta also revealed it was looking to “evaluate investment alternatives” for its 49% stake in French food retailer Picard. Proceeds from any transaction would be used to strengthen the Aryzta balance sheet, it added.