Premier Foods poaches Kraft Foods Europe’s CEO

UK-based Premier Foods has poached the CEO of Kraft Foods Europe, Michael Clarke, to head up its operations when Robert Schofield retires on 1 September.

Analysts have warned that Clarke has a tough challenge ahead of him as the company battles rising commodity prices and the reluctance of the supermarkets to pass on the increased prices for consumers.

Ronnie Bell, chairman of Premier Foods, said: “I am delighted to welcome Mike as CEO. He has had a significant and successful career in the food and drinks industry and brings with him a wealth of strategic brand experience combined with a strong financial and operational background. He has an impressive track record and I very much look forward to working with him as we focus on delivering our branded growth strategy and continuing to reduce debt.”

Following the announcement, shares in Premier Foods rose 3.56p to 21.66p.

At the end of June, shares in the company plunged by 22% after the food group issued a profit warning, blaming it on soaring commodity costs, a spat with Tesco which resulted in Hovis sliced bread being temporarily withdrawn from Tesco’s shelves, and the loss of a pie making contract for Marks & Spencers. 

Trading profit over the six months to 25 June were forecast to be between £65m and £70m, compared with £94m over the same period last year.

The company’s brands include Fray Bentos, Oxo, Atora, Bisto, Hovis and Branston.

>Premier Foods issues profit warning

>Premier Foods cuts debt to £900m

>Management changes at Premier Foods


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