Business Irish

Saturday 19 January 2019

Aryzta hires new CEO for Europe

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Troubled Swiss-Irish bakery group Aryzta has hired former Unilever and Royal Friesland Campina executive Gregory Sklikas as chief executive of its Europe division.

Mr Sklikas succeeds Dermot Murphy, who'll leave the group in August. Mr Murphy has been with the group and its predecessor, IAWS, for 20 years.

It's the latest top management change at the company, which is in the throes of a turnaround effort headed by CEO Kevin Toland.

Mr Toland joined Aryzta, whose brands include Cuisine de France, last September from the DAA, the operator of Dublin and Cork airports.

Mr Murphy was seen as a leading candidate for the Aryzta chief executive role early last year when it was vacated by Owen Killian.

Mr Toland, a former senior Glanbia executive, is working alongside Aryzta chairman Gary McGann to revitalise and restructure the company.

The bakery group's top executives quit early last year after a profit warning and senior management echelons of the business have now been completely revamped.

Earlier this year, Peter Jackson, the managing director of Aryzta's European food service division, signalled that he was also leaving.

He joined Pallas Foods, Ireland's largest food service wholesaler, as chief executive this month.

Mr Toland said that Mr Murphy had provided "great leadership and support during a period of significant change and transition" at Aryzta.

Mr Sklikas was most recently the chief operating officer for the EMEA with Dutch dairy multinational Friesland Campina. He left Friesland Campina at the end of 2016, having decided to pursue a career outside the company.

In his COO role, he was responsible for €4bn in sales, 10,000 employees and 14 operating companies. He oversaw operations in 35 countries and 21 factories.

In its 2017 financial year, Aryzta generated revenue of just under €3.8bn, with €1.73bn of that derived from operations in Europe and the remainder in North America.

Of its total €420m in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda), €211m was generated in Europe, €170m in North America and the remainder in the rest of the world.

Aryzta has been selling non-core assets as it realigns its business. It also sold troubled manufacturing operations in the United States this year.

It's hoping to generate €450m from disposals by the end of its financial year this summer. During the first half of the current financial year, Aryzta's ebitda fell almost 30pc to €161.3m.

Irish Independent

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