Tiger Brands shares soar with new CEO appointment

Tiger Brands’ share price jumped the most in 25 years after South Africa’s biggest food producer by market value replaced its veteran chief executive officer.

Tjaart Kruger will replace Noel Doyle as the CEO starting 1 November, Tiger Brands said in a filing on Friday.

Kruger, the former CEO of Premier Foods, has been appointed on a 26-month contract to lead the company, according to the statement. Tiger Brands shares surged as much as 16%, the most since August 1998.

“Following the board’s annual review of the company’s strategy, the board concluded that new leadership was required to respond to the challenges currently facing the company,” Johannesburg-based Tiger Brands said.

Doyle – a 20-year veteran at the company – oversaw several challenges at Tiger Brands since he took over in February 2020.

That included a recall of 20 million cans of food, opposition to its plans to shut its fruit canning unit in the Western Cape, and a recall of baby powder products that were suspected to be tainted by asbestos. That was after the company was hit by a deadly outbreak of listeriosis in 2018.

The owner of brands such as Golden Cloud Flour and Beacon Confectionary said its group operating income for the 12 months through 30 September would be lower than the previous year as it struggled to fully recover higher input costs. 

“This, together with the year-on-year impact of incremental retrenchment costs of approximately R100 million, proved too significant to be offset by the group’s cost reduction initiatives,” Tiger Brands said.