Jun 27, 2018

Premier Foods chairman defends under-fire chief Gavin Darby

Keith Hamill, chairman of Premier Foods, has strongly backed the chief executive of the Mr Kipling cakemaker, who faces calls for his resignation from one of the company's biggest investors, saying its brands would not fetch a good price in the current "Challenged" climate. Oasis, the Hong Kong-based hedge fund that holds a 9.3 per cent stake in the UK foods group, ratcheted up the pressure on Wednesday when it issued a 14-page document detailing what it described as "Five years of failure under Gavin Darby's leadership". Brands such as Hartley's jam, Sarson's vinegar and Branston pickle were sold to reduce debt before Mr Darby joined the company in February 2013. Oasis has charged Mr Darby with having no credible growth strategies and accused him of driving the company into a "Zombie-like state". Mr Hamill said the issue of Mr Darby's pay was a "Sideshow" and that under Mr Darby the rate of new products had tripled, international revenues had doubled and that strategic partnerships with Nissin, the Japanese noodle-maker - which is its biggest shareholder - and Mondelez, the US confectionery company, accounted for half the group's revenue growth last year.

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