Bob Spooner Hovis

Hovis Limited CEO Bob Spooner

Hovis Limited chief executive Bob Spooner has resigned.

Spooner, who became CEO of the business when it was split from Premier Foods earlier this year, is to leave in January to take up a new role based overseas.

“This decision is for entirely personal reasons and has been particularly difficult for me,” he said. “The Hovis business has made amazing progress and I’ve loved being part of that journey. I wish everyone at Hovis all the very best for the future.”

Spooner joined Premier Foods in 2007 as group supply chain director and was subsequently made managing director of the bread business. He was appointed CEO of Hovis Limited in April 2014 following the completion of a joint venture deal in which global investment firm The Gores Group acquired a 51% stake in Hovis Limited, with the remaining 49% retained by Premier.

Hovis Limited executive chairman Nish Kankiwala, who will work with the Hovis board to identify and appoint a new CEO, thanked Spooner for his “outstanding contribution”.

“He leaves the business in great shape with Hovis achieving a significant year on year increase in profits,” said Kankiwala. “We now have the structure, investment and leadership team in place to build on this momentum and ensure the business goes from strength to strength.”

The Gores Group MD Fernando Goni added he was delighted with the progress the business was making operationally and commercially. “Six months in, our partnership is proving highly effective and we remain confident that the talented Hovis leadership team will continue to unlock the potential of the Hovis brand and drive value for all stakeholders,” he said.

Last month, The Grocer reported that the Hovis brand - which lost £56m in retail sales last year - had returned to growth. Although still in 16.5% decline over a full year according to IRI [52 w/e 9 August 2014], Kantar Worldpanel data for the 12 weeks to 17 August 2014 had shown a 9.7% hike in value sales. This was in stark contrast to the same period a year ago, when sales crashed 18.9%.