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Industry Contributor 2 Dec 2019 - 2 min read

Premier Foods ditches managing director role for CMO and CCO

By Brendan Coyne - Contributing editor

Premier Foods is backing chief marketer and chief customer officers to revive company fortunes, elevating them to the executive leadership team and removing the international managing director role.

 

Key points

  • Premier owns brands such as Mr Kiplings and Cadbury cake, Batchelors, Bisto and Oxo
  • Battling long term share price decline and mounting debt, food manufacturer initiated strategic review last year
  • Increased marketing investment in first half (H1) and plans to continue in H2
  • H1 results show upturn in fortunes, with firm returning to profit helped by higher TV ad spend for Mr Kiplings brand
  • CMO Yilmaz Erceyes to handle all marketing, consumer insights and analytics, R&D
  • CCO Richard Martin oversees all retail customers and channels

The Mr Kiplings owner is making an exceedingly interesting bet on marketing and customer focus to revive its fortunes. So far, it appears to be working.

Like Kraft Heinz, Premier Foods faces some challenges that are not of its making. Consumer tastes change and nothing says legacy brand like Angel Delight and Smash.

But it has made some bad decisions in the aftermath of historical acquisitions that led to overreach, sell-offs, restructuring and ultimately, a debt pile, significant pension deficit and a share price that stands at 0.7 per cent of its 2005 peak. That collapse has led to activist shareholders pushing for disposals, if not wholesale break up.

In response Premier Foods has made senior management changes, recently bringing in a permanent CEO and chairman (former Reckitt Benckiser CFO, Colin Day). Now it is backing a CMO and chief customer officer to help continue the turnaround.

The leadership team certainly has its work cut out. But Premier has little to lose by trying something different and the auguries bode well: in the month to 30 November its share price climbed 24 per cent. 

If Erceyes and Martin can drive growth, it could lay down a recipe for other boards to follow. And if they can deliver double digit revenue growth for Angel Delight, then anything is possible.

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Brendan Coyne

Contributing editor

Contributing editor at Mi-3, Brendan has reported on media, telecoms, energy and industrial verticals for 20 years. Now UK-based, he is a former editor of AdNews.

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