Premier Foods boss facing pressure from shareholder

Mr Kipling and Cadbury cakes supplier Premier Foods has said one of its shareholders is to vote against the reappointment of chief executive officer Gavin Darby.

Premier today (21 June) stated that Oasis Management Company plans to vote against the re-election of Darby as chief exec at the company's AGM next month, and claimed it may encourage others to do the same.

Although Premier reported an overall 3.6% increase in revenue to £819.2m in its latest full-year results, with adjusted profit before tax up +5.9% to £78.6m, the business has been under pressure for a number of years.

In the case of its cakes business, which accounts for around a quarter of total revenue, branded sales have fallen 3.2% year-on-year although a strong own-label performance meant the division recorded a 1.2% hike in revenue.

In April this year, Hong Kong-based Oasis, which has previously criticised Premier, stepped down from the food company’s board.

In a statement in support of Darby, Premier said: “The board strongly believes that Gavin Darby is the best person to lead the company and to execute the board's strategy.

“Having regard to the best interests of the company's shareholders as a whole and its other stakeholders, the board unanimously recommends that shareholders vote in favour of Gavin Darby's re-election as the chief executive officer at the company's AGM and will communicate further in due course.”

Darby joined Premier in 2013 following the sudden departure of Michael Clarke. His experience includes 12 years with Coca-Cola and a period as CEO of Cable & Wireless Worldwide, where he oversaw its sale to another former employer, Vodafone.

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