Business Irish

Friday 28 July 2017

Straight-shooter Toland to take over at troubled Aryzta

Finding a replacement for airports chief Kevin Toland creates a headache for Transport Minister Shane Ross, as pay at semi-states such as DAA has been capped at €250,000 a year since the economic crash
Finding a replacement for airports chief Kevin Toland creates a headache for Transport Minister Shane Ross, as pay at semi-states such as DAA has been capped at €250,000 a year since the economic crash
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

DAA boss Kevin Toland has been catapulted to the top flight of Ireland's corporate elite with his appointment as CEO-designate at struggling bakery giant Aryzta.

The former Glanbia executive was last night named to the top job vacated earlier this year by Owen Killian at the €2.7bn Swiss/Irish food group.

Aryzta chairman Gary McGann has been in the hunt for a new CEO to steady the business after a string of profit warnings rocked confidence in the global business.

The appointment of Kevin Toland (51), a highly regarded long-term manager rather than a corporate financier, will likely end speculation that a full Aryzta break-up is on the cards.

Mr Toland is seen as a straight-talker. In 2014 he oversaw a brutally frank independent review of the crisis-mired Department of Justice.

The Toland Report identified a "deferential relationship" between the department and Gardai, and a "closed, secretive and silo-driven culture" at Justice.

The then Secretary General of the Department, Brian Purcell, stood down ahead of its publication.

In a statement yesterday, Aryzta said the incoming CEO will join the business following a six month notice period, or earlier, if mutually agreed by both parties.

With Aryzta keen to fill the job, it means the timing of Mr Toland's move could ultimately come down to Transport Minister Shane Ross, who can release the executive early.

The news creates a headache for the minister. In 2012, the then Transport Minister, Leo Varadkar, struggled to replace Declan Collier at the DAA until Kevin Toland took a massive pay cut to move back from Glanbia's Chicago office to take the job.

Pay at semi-states has been capped at €250,000 a year since the crash. In the US Mr Toland earned a multiple of that. He ran Glanbia's performance nutrition business - and is widely credited with developing what is now the Kilkenny-based plc's big growth driver.

His decision to come back to Ireland was reportedly for family reasons, but was taken around the same time as Siobhan Talbot's elevation to the CEO job at Glanbia, for which he would have been in contention.

His new role is likely to mean a move to Switzerland, but also a massive pay hike. Up to two years ago, Owen Killian was the country's best-paid CEO - he made a cool €5.5m in 2014.

Irish Independent

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