Coveney takes US lead role in Greencore shake-up

Greencore boss Patrick Coveney is to split his time between the UK and the US as the business announces a restructure of its US operations and leadership.

The business also said share earnings would be below market expectations, prompting a sharp drop in Greencore’s share price.

Chief executive Coveney (pictured left) is to spend around half his time in the US, taking a direct role in the strategic, organisational and commercial leadership of Greencore US. The company greatly increased its presence in the US with the acquisition of Peacock Foods in 2016.

Chris Kirke, who was MD of Greencore’s food-to-go business in the UK, before becoming CEO of Greencore US in 2015, is leaving Greencore Group to return to the UK, but will help with the transition.

Chuck Metzger, chief operating officer of Greencore US, has taken on day-to-day responsibility for the US business and will report to Coveney.

The moves come as Greencore restructures its US manufacturing operations to address poor utilisation of some of its production capacity. The US changes include ending fresh production at the Rhode Island facility, although the site will be retained for potential repurposing.

Greencore also said it expected new business wins to enable it to make better use of its Jacksonville and Minneapolis sites.

The business, which recently reported that strong food-to-go business had driven a 9.2% hike in UK revenue, said it expected good organic revenue growth in the current financial year, although volumes had been hit by poor weather in Q2.

It added that, while the core US business had performed as expected, a weak performance of the group’s underutilised sites in the first half of the year would impact US profit growth.

The group now anticipates adjusted EPS in the range of 14.7p-15.7p, lower than the current market expectations of 15.7p-16.6p. The firm’s share price had fallen 24% following the announcement this morning (13 March).

In January, Greencore exited the cakes and desserts market with the sale of its site in Hull to Bright Blue Foods.

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