Who are the five new CEOs shaking up the FMCG sector?

A variety of FMCG brands have been undergoing changes in leadership this year.

Amid the cost-of-living crisis and rising inflation, these five brands are committed to driving business forward and starting new phases of growth under the supervision of their newly appointed CEOs.

Grocery Gazette highlights the biggest CEO appointments in the FMCG world:

Nick Canney – Innocent Juices

Innocent has announced its CEO Douglas Lamont is stepping down from his position this autumn and is being succeeded by the company’s current European vice president Nick Canney.

Canney has been with the FMCG giant for seven years and until recently, was leading the company’s European business. He started his journey at Innocent in January 2015 where he held the position of managing director of UK and Ireland, being promoted to European managing director in 2019.

From there, he helped grow the brand and oversaw the expansion in key European markets.

Prior to joining Innocent, Canney held senior roles at Coca-Cola Enterprises GB, where he was vice president of sales and marketing, and Cadbury as UK grocery sales director.

“Innocent is truly a wonderful business, that has always focused on growing in the right way. I feel hugely privileged to take on this new role as we get ourselves ready for our next phase of growth. I am committed to driving the business forward with purpose and people at the heart,” Canney says.

READ MORE: Innocent names Nick Canney as CEO

Mike Brehme – Typhoo Tea

British tea brand Typhoo Tea has appointed its new CEO, Mike Brehme, after former CEO Des Kingsley announced his departure.

Brehme, co-founder and CEO of Clipper Teas for 27 years, first joined Typhoo Tea as a non-exec director on 1 November 2021.

Commenting on his appointment Brehme said he is “delighted and excited to be joining one of Britain’s best loved tea brands.

“As a nation we are now drinking a much wider range of teas and infusions. The expertise and passion within Typhoo Tea for its brands like Typhoo and Heath & Heather infusions will soon be transforming the market and adding an OO’ to every brew, whatever your taste,” he says.

READ MORE: Typhoo Tea CEO steps down

Adalbert Lechner – Lindt

Lindt has appointed a new group CEO, as current boss Dieter Weisskopf retires from his current position towards the end of this year.

The board of directors at the Swiss chocolate giant has appointed Adalbert Lechner – who is currently CEO of the German subsidiary of the company – as the new group CEO.

At the same time, Weisskopf, who spent 27 years in management at Lindt, including six years as CEO and previously as CFO, will be welcomed as a new member of the board at the upcoming AGM.

Commenting on the move, Lechner says: “I am very much looking forward to my new role as CEO of the group and would like to thank the board of directors for their trust”. “Dieter Weisskopf hands over the company to me in excellent shape and expectations for the future development are high.”

READ MORE: Lindt appoints new CEO as Weisskopf retires

Robert Higginson – Hovis

After Hovis announced that CEO Nish Kankiwala will be stepping down from the position at the end of September, the British bakery brand revealed current non-executive director Robert Higginson as the company’s interim CEO.

Kankiwala holds 40 years of experience in the FMCG sector, he started his career at Unilever serving in several commercial and operational roles, before moving to PepsiCo where he became president of the soft drinks giant in Europe and Africa.

Kankiwala says: “Together, we have galvanised Hovis, leveraging its great heritage and fantastic quality to create one of the fastest growing, large scale, bread brands over the last few years.

Hovis is now poised for its next stage of growth, and it is time for me to step down and pursue a broader set of plural commercial activities.”

Higginson, the newly appointed Hovis CEO, has previously been managing director of Warburton’s and executive chair of Frank Roberts & Sons.

READ MORE: Hovis CEO Nish Kankiwala to step down

Dalton Philips – Greencore

Convenience food manufacturer Greencore also appointed former CEO of Morrisons, Dalton Philips, as its next chief executive, replacing Patrick Coveney.

Philips, who served as Morrisons CEO from 2010 to 2015, was most recently the CEO of global airports and retail group Dublin Airport Authority since October 2015.

Prior to working at the Big 4 grocer, he also held senior roles at the George Weston Group, a leading Canadian grocer Loblaw, and the Irish luxury goods seller the Brown Thomas Group.

“I am hugely excited to be joining Greencore, which is a business I have long admired as an outstanding operator in the UK food manufacturing sector,” Phillips says.

“I know from my time as a Greencore customer that this is a business with exceptional dynamism, adaptability, and ambition, and one that is committed to the highest levels of product quality, customer service, and sustainability.

“I am looking forward very much to joining their industry-leading team in September, and to helping to realise the significant future growth potential that I see for this business.”

READ MORE: Morrisons ex-boss appointed as Greencore CEO

Communication is key

According to Helen Dawson, director at the strategy consultancy eponymous firm, ultimately, CEOs are responsible for the company, therefore, they need to be a “great communicator and relationship builder”.

“The CEO is responsible for the performance of the company. They set the vision for the direction of the company, and they foster the culture,” she says.

“They need to balance short-term profitability with long-term sustainability and the survival of the company. It’s a tough gig – less than 20 companies have stayed in the FTSE 100 index continuously since its inception, for example.”

“Not only does the CEO have to communicate well inside their organisation, but they also need to communicate a compelling, logical narrative about the company to shareholders, the executive board, and other external stakeholders.”

She concludes: “They choose the strategy, and they decide the allocation of resources (time, people, and money) across the company. Great CEOs allocate those resources in a way that aligns both strategy and resources.”

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