The chairman of Premier Foods today revealed that he would relinquish as soon as a replacement could be found, after six years at the helm of Britain's biggest food producer. He has held the position since the company floated on the stock market in 2004.
"After six hugely enjoyable years at Premier Foods, I have decided that this is an appropriate time for me to stand down. Following the successful completion of the acquisitions and integration of the Campbell's and RHM businesses and the recent financial restructuring, the Group is now in a strong position and well placed for the future," he added.
The news emerges amidst striving times for the company. Premier was forced to carry out an extensive debt restructuring last year amidst decreasing profit speculations. Premier squeezed its debt pile to nearly £1.4 billion after it raised £379 million in an equity fundraising.
Premier is in a process to run away from high volume but lower-margin own-label contracts as part of its strategy of boosting the growth of its biggest brands, which are twice as profitable.
However, the City is concerned that a rapid run down of own-label volumes will leave Premier with spare capacity and too-high overheads.
Premier is reported to have brought in Jim Smart recently, previously with Friends Provident and Alliance Boots, as its new finance director.
Shares in Premier, which has a stockmarket value of £770 million, raised 0.5p to 32.75p in early trading.