Premier Food axes COO role in latest restructure

Premier Foods’ new CEO Michael Clarke has restructured the senior management team with the addition of managing directors for its grocery and bakery divisions.

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The restructure splits commercial leadership responsibilities for Premier’s portfolio of brands between the two divisions and sees the role of chief operating officer axed.

Tim Kelly who was appointed into the COO role when it was created in December last year will leave the business.

Premier says the move has been designed to “strengthen focus on the company’s renewed growth plan”.

Iwan Williams will join from financial consultants Ambre Partners in November to lead Premier’s £1.1bn bakery business, which includes its bread and cakes business such as Hovis and Mr Kipling brands as well as its Brookes Avana own label business.

He has previously been strategic marketing director of Coca- Cola’s Asia Pacific business and a had stint at Cadbury Schweppes.

Graham Hunter, former managing director of Northern Foods branded business, including its Fox’s Biscuits and Goodfella’s pizza brand, will join next year to head up the £1bn grocery business, which includes the Bisto, Loyd Grossman and Oxo brands.

Both will report to CEO Michael Clarke, former president of Kraft Foods Europe who joined in July.

Clarke says the new managing directors will help to “rebuild” Premier Foods, which reported a 3.6% fall in sales to £477m for the three months to 7 October and expects full year profit to be below market expectations.

Speaking earlier this month Clarke said the performance was “disappointing” adding that the business has “significant challenges to overcome”.

Premier Foods outlined its new “power brands” strategy earlier this year and has pegged growth on eight core brands.

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