Aryzta rallies as market cheers Kevin Toland appointment

Shares in Swiss-Irish baked goods have fallen this year following profit warning

Shares in Aryzta rallied on Friday as analysts cheered the appointment of Kevin Toland, chief executive of airport operator DAA, as its next chief executive, following a tumultuous four months at the baked goods group which had been marked by a profit warning and senior departures.

Aryzta’s stock rose as much as 4.3 per cent to €32.18 in Dublin, following two sessions of losses, as investors digested the news, which was disclosed after stock markets had closed in Europe on Thursday evening.

Analysts at Investec in Dublin expressed "relief" in a note to clients that the new chief executive had been announced "in a timely manner", less than two months after Aryzta's long-standing chief Owen Killian, chief financial officer Peter McEniff and head of its American operations John Yamin exited.

Mr Toland, a previous chief executive of food group Glanbia’s US and global nutritionals division, based in the US between 2004 and 2012 before joining DAA, will join Aryzta within the next six months.


“Aryzta would appear to have secured the services of a very strong candidate who not only has experience of the food ingredients world but also in the US where Aryzta has a number of issues to address,” said Investec. “Mr Toland has also proved to be very adaptable, having enjoyed considerable success as CEO of DAA, which is a completely different area.”

Grand Metropolitan

Mr Toland, like Aryzta's chairman of five months, Gary McGann, is an alumni of UK hotels-to-alcoholic drinks conglomerate Grand Metropolitan, which merged with Guinness in 1997 to form Diageo.

At Glanbia's US and global nutritionals unit, Mr Toland "led the business to become the largest manufacturer of American-style cheese in the US and number one B2C [business-to-customer] player in the global sports nutrition market," said Jason Molins, an analyst with Goodbody Stockbrokers. "The speed of the appointment is welcome."

Shares in Aryzta plunged in January after the Swiss-Irish company issued a profit warning as it lost biscuit and other baked goods contracts in the US, in what was the latest in a series of profit alerts within two years. The group has also clearly signalled its intention to sell its 49 per cent stake in French frozen foods group, Picard. The purchase almost two years ago was badly received by investors.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times