Greencore's chief financial officer Alan Williams has quit to join UK builders' merchant Travis Perkins in a development that hit shares in the convenience food group.
Mr Williams (46), who joined Greencore nearly six years ago from Cadbury, will be replaced at the group early next month by Eoin Tonge, who has been with the group since 2006.
Mr Tonge (44) has been managing director of Greencore’s grocery division in the UK since 2004. He previously worked with US investment banking giant Goldman Sachs.
Greencore chief executive Patrick Coveney said Mr Williams' "judgement, financial expertise, professionalism, integrity and commitment have made him a valued colleague during his time here. We are sorry to see him go but wish him well as he takes on an exciting new opportunity."
While Fintan Ryan, an analyst with German investment bank
, said that Mr Tonge “seems like a sensible choice” for the role, Mr Williams, a British national, was a “great spokesman” for the group who “gave clear messaging on the story and financials, and will be missed by many investors”.
Shares in Greencore fell as much as 3.9 per cent to £3.37 (€3.93) in London on Tuesday.
Travis Perkins said that Mr Williams would start on an annual salary of £500,000, plus pension plan payments equating to a quarter of his base pay and other benefits in line with the company’s remuneration policy.
He enjoyed total remuneration of £579,000 at Greencore for the year to the end of last September, according to its most recent annual report.
Greencore said that Mr Tonge would be replaced at the helm of the grocery division by
, currently the unit’s finance director.
Shares in Greencore wobbled in late July as the company reported that its sales momentum slowed in the three months to June and its US business continued to turn in what company executives called a “lumpy” performance.
However, Mr Coveney was upbeat on the US business at the time, saying it had become profitable since March, having posted a small loss in the first half of the year to the end of September.
Mr Williams predicted the unit’s mixed quarterly performance would moderate and begin to deliver “high single-digit” to “low double-digit” growth in time as it won new business.
The stock has advanced 10 per cent since the end of July.