16 September 2014

Premier Foods strengthens focus on growth opportunities through key leadership appointments and new business unit structure

Premier Foods today announces a reorganisation of its commercial structure creating three new Strategic Business Units (SBU’s) to strengthen focus on its major growth opportunities and develop more agile ways of working following the successful conclusion of a new capital structure earlier this year.

Premier Foods plc
16th September 2014


Premier Foods today announces a reorganisation of its commercial structure creating three new Strategic Business Units (SBU’s) to strengthen focus on its major growth opportunities and develop more agile ways of working following the successful conclusion of a new capital structure earlier this year.

The new SBU’s will be named Grocery, Sweet Treats and International and will enable a tighter focus on capturing specific category opportunities in the UK market  while ensuring a more strategic approach to developing the Company’s brands internationally.  Each SBU will have full accountability for its respective portfolio and be responsible for directing innovation, marketing, sales, manufacturing and logistics resources in support of agreed growth priorities.

To lead the new structure, two new appointments have been made to the Executive leadership team.  Alex Whitehouse is appointed Managing Director, Grocery bringing significant marketing, innovation and strategic experience to the Company following an 18 year career with Reckitt Benckiser plc. Graham Hunter is appointed Managing Director, Sweet Treats and brings valuable expertise in the sweet treats category having held senior general management, marketing and commercial roles at Tangerine Confectionery, Fox’s Biscuits, Jacobs Bakery and Mars.

In addition, Peter Ellis is appointed General Manager, International expanding his existing responsibilities for the Company’s international sales and building on his substantial international experience gained over 16 years at Campbell Soup Company.

As a result of these changes, the previous position of Commercial Director, Premier Foods, currently held by Ian Deste, will no longer exist. During a transition period, Ian will focus on helping execute the remainder of the Company’s 2014 commercial plans and particularly the important Christmas trading period, continuing to strengthen its customer relationships and supporting the move to the new structure.

Commenting on the new commercial organisation, Gavin Darby, CEO Premier Foods said:
“Given the major structural changes taking place in the UK grocery market, it is important we stay ahead of the game and re-focus our organisation on the most promising growth opportunities and delivering what our customers and consumers want. By implementing a focussed and more accountable business unit structure, I believe we will improve our agility and rate of innovation.”

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to attract two outstanding individuals in Alex Whitehouse and Graham Hunter to Premier Foods. They are experienced leaders with clear ideas on how we can grow the business. Together with Peter Ellis, I believe we have the right structure, leadership, experience and energy to build a stronger, more agile and less complex business and deliver shareholder value for the future.”

“I’ve worked closely with Ian Deste for some time and am very grateful to him for his important contribution in helping shape our category-focussed strategy and building stronger relationships with our retail customers. I’m pleased that he will be further supporting us in the transition to the new structure. ”

For further information please contact:
Premier Foods plc       +44 (0) 1727 815 850
Richard Johnson, Corporate Affairs Director
Richard Godden, Head of Investor Relations

Maitland        +44 (0) 20 7379 5151 
Liz Morley
Tom Eckersley

Notes to Editors:

Grocery SBU
The Grocery Strategic Business Unit will exploit common insights, trends, innovation and customer opportunities by  bringing together the Company’s leading brand portfolio in  Flavourings & Seasonings (Bisto, Oxo, Paxo), Cooking Sauces & Accompaniments (Loyd Grossman, Sharwood’s, Homepride), Easy Eating (Batchelors), Desserts (Ambrosia, Bird’s) and Homebaking (McDougalls).

Sweet Treats SBU
The Sweet Treats Strategic Business Unit will capitalise on the substantial opportunities that exist for the Company’s cake portfolio, including Mr. Kipling, Cadbury and Lyons, through competing more effectively in the broader, and faster growing, sweet treats category. A dedicated approach for this category also aligns better with how the Company’s major retail customers are organised.

International SBU
The International Strategic Business Unit will focus on the development of selected brands in a number of strategic markets including Australia, the USA and China. 

Alex Whitehouse
Alex Whitehouse joined the Company in July following a 18 year career with Reckitt Benckiser plc, where he held senior general management, marketing, innovation and strategy roles across multiple geographies.  He was Managing Director of Reckitt Benckiser New Zealand, Head of Marketing of Reckitt Benckiser in the USA and most recently was Worldwide Head of Shopper & Customer Marketing.  Earlier in his career, he held a number of retail management positions with Whitbread plc.

Graham Hunter
Graham Hunter has a strong track record in the sweet treats business spanning more than 20 years. Most recently he was CEO of Tangerine Confectionery. He also spent a number of years as Managing Director of Fox’s Biscuits and Divisional Managing Director of Northern Foods prior to its acquisition by 2 Sisters Food Group. Earlier in his career Graham was Marketing Director for Jacobs Bakery and he additionally spent 10 years at Mars Confectionery.

Peter Ellis
Peter Ellis joined Premier Foods in 2012 and is currently Director International and Private Label. Prior to this he had a 16 year career at Campbell Soup Company where he held a number of senior, international roles including Managing Director, Central, Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa, General Manager, Russia as well as Euro

07 December 2014

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