Founder and finance director leave in shake-up at Real Good Food

Real Good Food – which last week saw its shares plunge following a profit warning – has announced the departure of its founder and its finance director.

The Renshaw and Haydens Bakery owner today (8 August) said founder and executive chairman Pieter Totté (pictured above) has resigned and stepped down from the board with immediate effect.

Non-exec director Pat Ridgwell has taken on the role of interim chairman until a permanent chairman can be appointed, while non-exec director Christopher Thomas has become executive director. 

Real Good Food (RGF) also announced that Harveen Rai, previously chief financial officer at Arzyta UK Holdings, is to replace David Newman as finance director and company secretary. Newman is stepping down from the board with immediate effect, but remains the company for a changeover period.

The shake-up follows RGF last week stating that it expected earnings for the financial year ended 31 March 2017 to be around £2m-£3m lower than previously forecast – and that profits in 2018 would be lower than expected. The company also revealed that payments for consultancy services made to Totté and non-executive director Peter Salter had not been disclosed in transaction notes for its accounts in 2014 to 2016, although the costs had been accounted for. Salter, who was chairman of the firm’s audit and remuneration committees, resigned and stepped down from the board with immediate effect.

The company’s share priced crashed from almost 34p to around 21p following last week’s profit warning, but has started to recover slightly following today’s announcements. It is currently 22p (10am, 8 August).

RGF today said Harveen had been involved in implementing and streamlining processes and controls in her time at Aryzta, as well as developing and strengthening the regional finance teams. Before joining Aryzta, she spent over 10 years working at Lufthansa-owned airline catering company LSG Sky Chefs.

A new non-executive director, Hugh Cawley, has joined the board and will head RGF’s audit committee. The company described him as “an experienced finance professional with extensive public company experience with a particular focus on businesses facing a major strategic challenge or undergoing significant corporate change”.

Judith Mackenzie, who joined the board as a non-executive director in June, has become head of the remuneration committee.

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