2 Sisters Ronald Kers

Ronald Kers will take the reins at Valeo in the summer

Valeo Foods has appointed 2 Sisters boss Ronald Kers as group CEO to succeed Seamus Kearney, who is leaving the role after more than 11 years.

Kers will take up his new role in the summer following Kearney’s decision to step back from a day-to-day leadership role within the business, which owns the likes of Kettle and Rowse.

Kers has spent the past five years transforming 2 Sisters Food Group, spearing a turnaround at the processor as it sold off non-core assets to focus on the core chicken business.

Prior to 2 Sisters, he spent six years at dairy giant Müller, joining as UK boss in 2012 before taking on the role of group CEO in 2015.

He also has more than two decades of experience at global fmcg companies, including Nestlé and Procter & Gamble.

“In his time at both groups [2 Sisters and Müller], Ronald has developed a uniquely broad set of capabilities that span category, geography and a deep operational skillset, which position him incredibly well to drive the next stage of Valeo Foods’ evolution” said Nigel Walder of Valeo owner Bain Capital.

Kers added: “I’m thrilled to be joining Valeo Foods and look forward to partnering with the team to help realise the ambition of building a scale and growing platform of multi-national food brands.”

Kearney has been CEO of Valeo Foods for more than 11 years, overseeing a period of rapid growth by acquisitions, culminating with a £1.5bn takeover by global private equity firm Bain in 2021.

The Valeo board said it wanted to convey “immense gratitude” to Kearney for his service to the business and looked forward to his “ongoing contributions to the continued growth and development of the group” as a director.

“While my role is evolving in the business, I remain incredibly passionate and excited about the future for Valeo Foods, and I look forward to supporting Ronald and the Bain Capital team in a different capacity and as a long-term committed shareholder,” Kearney said.

2 Sisters said in a statement that Kers would remain with the business to ensure “a smooth handover” while serving a six-month notice period.

The group has also put in place a transitionary structure with the European poultry and UK and Ireland pastry operations continuing to report into Kers, while Boparan Holdings president Ranjit Singh will manage the UK poultry and ready meal businesses, with CFO Craig Tomkinson taking responsibility for all group functions.

All three will report directly to non-executive chairman Richard Pennycook.

The board said it would use this opportunity to review the leadership and structure of the group.

Pennycook added: “The business remains focused and in good shape following the challenges of Covid, Brexit and continuing inflationary pressures. We are well placed to handle a smooth succession process in light of Ronald’s departure later this year.

“I would like to thank Ronald for his commitment over the past five years. He came here with a clear vision of what 2 Sisters should look like and how it should be run, and he has played a pivotal role in moving the business forward in the right direction. On behalf of the board, we wish him all the very best.”