Own-label supplier Samworth Brothers has appointed former Kerry Foods CEO Flor Healy as its new boss, The Grocer can reveal.
The Ginsters and Soreen owner has been without an official CEO since Alex Knight left the family-owned business in March, with Mark Samworth taking the reins temporarily.
Healy, who has been in charge of Kerry’s consumer foods division since 2004, signalled his intention to step down from the Kerry board as executive director in August but will remain at the group to assist with the transition to new Foods CEO Duncan Everett until the end of the year.
Samworth has struggled to find stability at the head of the management team since Brian Stein retired after 10 years as CEO in 2012.
Samworth Brothers director Lindsey Pownall succeeded Stein, but relinquished her role at the Leicestershire-headquartered business for personal reasons in 2015, relocating to the Lake District.
Knight, who had a long association with Samworth Brothers over the past 23 years, took over in January 2016 before leaving just over a year later.
“Samworth have found it tough since Brian left, struggling to find the right direction and lacking a heavy hitter to steer the ship,” an industry source told The Grocer.
“There is plenty of talent on the board but the business needed to find a permanent solution for the top job. Flor has a big reputation in the industry after more than a decade leading Kerry’s food business.”
Samworth has invested heavily over the past five years, opening factories and acquiring businesses including Soreen, sports nutrition brand Sci-Mx, Tesco’s Euphorium Bakery chain and most recently the West Cornwall Pasty Company.
Sources suggested that Healy, who joined the Kerry graduate development programme in 1984, was left disappointed when Edmond Scanlon, chief executive of Kerry Asia Pacific and another Kerry lifer, bagged the role of Kerry Group CEO earlier this year when Stan McCarthy announced his retirement.
New Kerry Foods CEO Duncan Everett is yet another Kerry lifer who came through the graduate programme in 1995 and has served in number of senior finance roles, including CFO of Kerry Foods, and was most recently MD of Kerry Foods’ meat technology business.