Martin Lightbody has stepped down as chief executive of Finsbury Foods, with immediate effect, as the Group announces an improved second half performance in its full-year results.
Lightbody will be replaced by chief operating officer John Duffy and will assume the position of non-executive chairman following the firm’s Annual General Meeting on 25 November.
Lightbody told British Baker it had always been the plan to hold the position of chief executive for a 12-month period, following the departure of former CEO Dave Brooks last year, but said that he would still be “heavily involved with the business” in his new role.
Finsbury’s results for the 53 weeks to 4 July 2009 revealed revenue growth of 8%, with like-for-like sales up 2%. However, it said profits had suffered with the high cost of raw materials such as eggs, chocolate and sugar.
Group revenue stood at £178.9 million (52 week period to 28 June 2008: £165.1m), an increase of £13.8 million (8.4%) year-on-year. Adjusted profit before tax was £5.0m (2008: £7.7m).
However the firm announced a 78% “improvement” in adjusted profit before tax in the second half of the year, compared to the first.
Its bread and ‘free from’ division saw like-for-like growth up 14%, and larger cake sales continued to grow in line with the overall ambient cake market, up 2% on last year.
Finsbury has seen sales of its Thorntons branded cakes rocket by over 70% during the year, making it the fastest-growing brand in the cake market, according to the firm. Sales of its WeightWatchers branded cakes also rose, up 25%.
Duffy has assisted Lightbody since September 2008, and has held previous positions at WT Foods, Noon Products Ltd, Golden Wonder and Mars.
To read the full story see the next issue of British Baker, out 9 October.