Valio names new CEO

Valio names new CEO

Finnish dairy group Valio has announced the promotion of long-time Valio executive Annikka Hurme to the post of CEO.

Hurme, formerly executive vice president and member of the group's executive board, took the helm today (6 October).

Valio said Hurme has "taken turns" in "heading up almost all of Valio's business and group operations" over the past seven years.

"A CEO with a thorough knowledge of Valio and the dairy industry is best placed to lead the company in the current challenging market conditions where Valio is being tested both by the economic slump in Europe and import embargo imposed by Russia," said Valio chairman Antti Rauhamaa.

The company did not detail reasons for the departure of outgoing CEO Pekka Laaksonen and representatives for the group were not available at time of press. However, Valio did say Laaksonen would be "released" from his duties today.

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Valio has seen sales slump in the face of the Russian embargo on EU dairy products. Prior to the trade restrictions, Russia was Valio's primary export market.

Annikka Hurme appointed Valio's new CEO10/6/2014 Corporate
Valio's Board of Directors has appointed Executive Vice President Annikka Hurme CEO of Valio Ltd as of 6th October 2014. Outgoing CEO Pekka Laaksonen is being released from his duties on the same day. As a long-time Valio employee, Ms Hurme has worked in a variety of positions since joining the company in 1989 and been a member of the Valio Group Executive Board from 2004.

Annikka Hurme has a broad range of experience in the management of Valio's business operations. The responsibilities of the Valio Group Executive Board have changed from time to time, and consequently Ms Hurme has taken turns in heading up almost all of Valio's business and group operations from 2007-2014.

"A CEO with a thorough knowledge of Valio and the dairy industry is best placed to lead the company in the current challenging market conditions where Valio is being tested both by the economic slump in Europe and import embargo imposed by Russia," says Antti Rauhamaa, Chairman of Valio's Board of Directors.

Focus on the strengths and see beyond the difficulties

The new CEO says that Valio must focus on its strengths, i.e. the development, manufacture, sales and marketing of tasty products that attract customers and consumers in Finland and through the company's subsidiaries, which in the current business environment means especially in Sweden, the United States and China.

"Valio's strengths are its ownership base of Finnish milk producers, our expert personnel, and responsible methods of operation throughout the supply chain. Although we are undergoing perhaps the toughest times in the company's history and major structural change in the organisation, I believe Valio will emerge from this as a strong player. I trust that Valio staff and milk producers will do their utmost and that Finns will persist in their desire to eat domestically produced food," says CEO Hurme.

"Now we have to look forward and ensure that Valio makes the tastiest and most innovative products on the market. The profits those create, sound co-operation with our customers and the efficiency and expertise in our own operations help Valio secure the operating prerequisites for Finnish milk production, which is our key task," Ms Hurme continues.

Original source: Valio