It was out with the old and in with the new at Premier Foods this week as COO Tim Kelly became the latest to leave the company following a major management reshuffle.
Kelly - touted as a candidate for the top job before Michael Clarke took the reins - is leaving Premier following changes to its leadership team designed to “strengthen focus” on growth.
Premier is creating two new group executive MD roles for its grocery and newly configured bakery businesses. Both will report directly to Clarke.
Industry sources said the new structure had in effect ousted Kelly from the company. “He was an obvious target as they’re looking at the business from a divisional perspective,” said one source. “Premier’s going down a branded/own label route that will change the way it works with customers and suppliers. It’s difficult to know if the decision was linked to Kelly’s relationship with customers such as Tesco - there are structural and fundamental issues in play here.
“Iwan Williams will oversee the company’s £1.1bn bread, cake, milling and own label Brookes Avana businesses, beginning this month. Dubbed by insiders as a ‘turnaround man’, he will be a useful addition to the company’s bakery business, which saw sales fall by more than 6% in value and 13.5% in volume for the three months to the end of September. His previous roles include president of McCormick Europe, Middle East and Africa and strategic marketing director for Coca-Cola’s Asia-Pacific region.
The appointment of Graham Hunter as new MD of Premier’s £1bn grocery business was seen as a coup for the company given his experience gained as MD of Northern Foods’ branded division, which includes Fox’s biscuits and Goodfella’s pizza. “It’s a bold move to go from there to Premier,” said Julian Wild, food group director at corporate finance firm Rollits.