Blog: FMCG veteran Kankiwala joins Hovis as chairman
Dean Best | 20 May 2014
UK bread manufacturer Hovis, embarking on life under the majority control of US private-equity firm Gores Group, has named former Unilever, PepsiCo and Burger King executive Nish Kankiwala its new chairman.
Hovis's former owner, UK food group Premier Foods plc, sold a 51% stake in the business to Gores earlier this year. Premier retained 49% of Hovis but hopes housing it in a stand-alone venture will revitalise the business in what remains a challenging UK market.
In an announcement today (20 May) Gores said Kankiwala "significant consumer brand experience and a proven ability to drive value and growth".
Since 2006, Kankiwala has been CEO of baby products supplier Maybron Group. Alongside that role, he was chairman of UK baby food firm Plum Baby from 2011 and 2013.
His career includes 15 years at Unilever between 1979 and 1994 and then a decade at PepsiCo. In 2004, Kankiwala joined Burger King Corp. as president, although he left the US fast food giant a year later.
"Nish is a great addition to the Hovis board. He has significant experience and an exceptional track record of reinvigorating organisations and reinventing brands," Gores MD Fernando Goni said.
Premier CEO Gavin Darby added: "He has excellent strategic, brand marketing and leadership experience that will be invaluable to the renaissance of the Hovis business."
That experience will have to be applied immediately. Hovis operates in a very challenging UK bread market against formidable competitors like Associated British Foods and Warburtons.
And ABF, through its Kingsmill brand, has shown it remains on the front foot, with two significant pieces of innovation this year - "thinner" bagels and what it has positioned as a healthier sliced loaf, Great White.
Kankiwala has a tough task on his hands.
Food is a small part of the portfolio at PZ Cussons, the UK-based FMCG group better known for brands including Imperial Leather soap and Charles Worthington shampoo. However, the company is a major ol...
Cargill's move to buy Archer Daniels Midland's chocolate business has cleared its last regulatory hurdle after clearance from the European Commission. But Brussels has asked Cargill to offload part of...
- Campbell Soup Co.'s M&A plans should avoid fresh
- Mead Johnson wrestles "irrational" Chinese market
- On the money: Unilever aims to get food growing
- Briefing: How is gluten-free faring in Europe?
- 10 things to learn: Campbell's plans for growth
- Hain Celestial buys plant-based food firm Mona
- Post, TreeHouse "in talks over ConAgra own-label"
- Nestle replaces India MD after Maggi scandal
- Lactalis surpasses Danone on dairy league table
- Mondelez Mexico investment to hit 600 US jobs