Nish Kankiwala

Source: Hovis

Nish Kankiwala

Nish Kankiwala is to step down as CEO of Hovis at the end of September to pursue a plural career.

Kankiwala has more than 40 years of experience in the FMCG sector, having started his career at Unilever serving in several commercial and operational roles, before moving to Pepsico where he became president of the soft drinks business in Europe and Africa. He then moved to Burger King International as president and further continued his career within private equity led businesses.

He joined Hovis in 2014 as chairman, later stepping into the role of chief executive. He will leave a legacy of transforming the brand, according to the company, which includes refocusing on the core baking business, disposing of three mills in the process, and the sale to Endless LLP in 2020.

Robert Higginson, currently a non-executive director at the 136-year-old bakery brand has agreed to become interim CEO. He has a wealth of experience in the bakery category having previously been managing director of Warburtons and executive chair of Frank Robert & Sons.

“Throughout my tenure, I have been humbled by the support, kindness, resilience and creativity of my team and colleagues, and I would like to them all for their contribution over the last eight years,” Kankiwala said.

“Together, we have galvanised Hovis, leveraging its great heritage and fantastic quality to create one of the fastest growing, large scale, bread brands over the last few years. Hovis is now poised for its next stage of growth and it is time for me to step down and pursue a broader set of plural commercial activities.”

Aidan Robson, partner at Endless LLP, thanks Kankiwala for his support, “especially in such challenging economic times”. “We are delighted that Robert Higginson has agreed to take over as Interim CEO and he will enable a smooth transition to the next stage of Hovis’ exciting growth story,” Robson added.

In late 2021 Hovis announced a raft of executive and board level appointments as part of a change programme to drive growth in 2022 and beyond. This saw Alistair Gaunt appointed as commercial director and Chris Bradley joining the coming as supply chain director.