Jayne Hrdlicka resigns as a2 Milk CEO

Marco Green
December 10, 2019

Commenting on her resignation decision, Hrdlicka, who is also on the board of Australian retailer Woolworths Group Ltd, said the job was demanding more than anticipated travel requirements and it was becoming increasingly hard for her to balance her work and family commitments.

The stock dropped 7.7 percent to $14 when trading on the NZX opened.

Hrdlicka, who joined the business as chief executive in July 2018, said the role required more travel than she had anticipated when she joined and would make it too hard to continue in the role alongside her other professional and personal commitments. That combined with running a New Zealand company based in Australia meant it would be too hard to manage "whilst also taking into account the health and wellness priorities of my family and me", she explained in a statement.

The New Zealand Shareholders' Association was not impressed.

The a2 Milk Company Managing Director and CEO Jayne Hrdlicka has resigned, the New Zealand company announced this morning (local time). "It should not have come as a surprise that there was going to be a lot of travelling", he said. "If there are any outstanding payments, other than base salary, to the resignation date, then the board must use every legal avenue to deny them to Ms Hrdlicka".

A2 Milk chairman David Hearn said there were no changes to profit forecasts made at last month's annual general meeting and a global search was underway for a permanent chief executive.

"In our view, there is likely to be more to it than travel".

Babidge says he is delighted "to be able to contribute to a2 Milk Company's continued success in any way I can".

The company reaffirmed the improved earnings outlook amid anticipation of strong China and USA sales campaigns.

He says her predecessor, Geoff Babidge, is stepping in immediately as chief executive.

Hearn also said that the management of the China business would be strengthened during the period of Babidge's temporary tenure by having A2 Milk's China-based non-executive director Jesse Wu having "direct oversight" of the China business. Full year earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation margin (EBITDA) is expected to be in the range of 29-30 per cent of sales, stronger than previously communicated, but lower than 1H20 (31-32 per cent) (Food & Drink Business 19/11/2019).

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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