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Drinks ingredients supplier Treatt has kicked off a search for a new CEO after Daemmon Reeve informed the board of his decision to retire from the role he has held for the past 11 years.

Reeve has worked at the London-listed group for 32 years and will step down from the helm on 31 December 2023.

Treatt said the board regularly reviewed succession planning and had begun the process to appoint a new CEO.

CFO Ryan Govender will take charge of the company on an interim basis from 1 January until an appointment is made

Treatt said Govender had a strong understanding of the business and had played a key role as part of the team in formulating an ambitious strategy for the future.

Chairman Vijay Thakrar said: “Daemmon has had a long and distinguished career at Treatt, overseeing a significant change in the company’s fortunes under his leadership.

“With the move into our new facility in Skyliner Way completed, the expansion in recent years of our US site and the recent establishment of our China subsidiary, the business is well positioned for growth and to capitalise on its strong market position.

“On behalf of the board I would like to thank Daemmon for his contribution and to wish him the very best in retirement. We are very pleased to have someone of Ryan’s calibre to assume the role of interim CEO whilst we undertake a thorough search for Daemmon’s replacement.”

Reeve added: “Treatt has been my life for the past 32 years and it has been a privilege to work with such a fantastic group of people in our great business.

“The time is now right for me to step aside for someone else to lead the next phase of the company’s growth. I’d like to thank all of my colleagues for the wonderful support that they have given to me and the business over the years, and look forward to seeing the business scale further heights.”

Shares in the group held up despite the move, with the stock up 0.5% to 432p this morning.

Morning update

Retail sales fell by more than expected in September as a late summer heatwave kept consumers off the high street.

Office for National Statistics figures showed a 0.9% month-on-month fall in sales volumes last month as the cost-of-living crisis also continued to weigh on shoppers.

The decline follows a 0.4% rise in August and is much higher than the 0.2% fall analysts predicted.

Non-food stores sales fell by 1.9% as shoppers had no need for autumn and winter ranges, while department store and household goods sales fell by 1.6% and 2.3% respectively month on month.

Food retailers managed a small rise of 0.2%, compared with a 1.4% jump in August.

British Retail Consortium CEO Helen Dickinson said: “As mortgages, rents and fuel costs continued to weigh on households, sales were impacted for big ticket items such as computers, electricals and larger household appliances. Meanwhile, cosmetics and toiletries had another strong month.

“With the ‘Golden Quarter’ fast approaching, retailers are hopeful that easing inflation we have seen in recent months will boost consumer confidence.

In another closely watched survey today, UK consumer confidence plunged in October over ongoing worries over spiralling mortgage rates and rent, higher petrol prices and uncertainties over the potential war in the Middle East.

The monthly GfK consumer confidence index fell by nine points this month to -30, a figure not seen since July.

The major purchase index also fell sharply by 14 points to -34 as shoppers kept a tight control of budgets in the run up to Christmas.

All other measures monitored by GfK also fell in October, including the view of the general economic situation in the past year and 12 months ahead and of respondents personal financial situation.

“This sharp fall [in consumer confidence] underlines that the cost-of-living crisis, and simply not having enough money to make-ends-meet, are still exerting acute pressure for many consumers,” said Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK.

“The fierce headwinds of meeting the accelerating costs of heating our homes, filling our petrol tanks, coping with surging mortgage and rental rates, a slowing jobs market and now the uncertainties posed by conflict in the Middle East, are all contributing to this growing unease.

“The timing of the sharp drop in our major purchase measure – down 14 points – will concern retailers across the land in the run-up to Christmas. The volatility we are seeing in consumer confidence is a sure sign of a depressed economic mood and there’s no immediate prospect of any improvement.”

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE closed down 1.2% to 7,499.53pts.

Nestle sank 3.4% to CHF 98.75 after missing market growth expectations as volumes declined on higher prices in the first nine months of 2023.

Deliveroo also fell 0.5% to 121.8p following a Q3 update reporting further progress.

On the opposite end, McBride soared 22.2% higher to 39.9p after it said profitability was ahead of expectations in a trading update despite the volatile conditions as consumers continue to trade down into own label.

Pernod Ricard also saw a 4.8% bump to €166.15 despite a “soft” start to the year with its Q1 results.