Australian Dairy Nutritionals (AHF) has appointed experienced dairy industry man Mahinthan ‘Mahi’ Sundaranathan as its new CEO a day after it was announced Peter Skene had quit the role.

The Victoria-headquartered group reported yesterday (17 June) that Skene had resigned from his position with immediate effect to “pursue other interests”.

Skene, who was with the Victoria-based business for 14 years, will, however, continue to work with the company for up to three months to assist in the transition to a new CEO.

According to a new statement released by the dairy producer, Sundaranathan has “over 20 years’ experience in the dairy industry across the Australian, Chinese and other Asian markets.”

He held the role of sales and marketing director and other senior management roles for local peer a2 Milk Company, throughout an eight and a half year tenure with the business.

Sundaranathan also worked as a senior brand manager for French dairy giant Danone’s Australia business for two and a half years and held various management roles including senior brand manager of fresh dairy for Fonterra’s local operation during an 11-year period working with the New Zealand company.

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AHF said Sundaranathan’s “expertise [lies] in brand management, new product development and project management in the FMCG and dairy sectors”.

Peter Nathan, chair of AHF added: “Having carefully considered the requirements of the business, we’re confident that Mahi is well placed to work with our customers, partners and team through the next phase of growth both here in Australia and internationally.

“Mahi has a deep knowledge of the infant-formula category in China and we look forward to the fresh ideas and enthusiasm that Mahi will bring to the role as our new CEO.”

The outgoing company head, Skene had been CEO of the business since July 2016.

In April this year, Bernard Kavanagh resigned as chair of AHF for personal reasons with Skene taking on an additional role by replacing him as interim chair.

In an ASX statement in May, AHF said it was taking steps to increase the independence of the board.

Nathan, formerly CEO of the Asia-Pacific region at the A2 Milk Co., replaced Skene as chair of the company in June.

AHF is a vertically-integrated business owning dairy farms as well as a processing facility located in south-west Victoria.

It produces the Ocean Road Dairies Organic A2 infant-formula range at its facility in Camperdown.

Under a strategic business focus announced in late 2022, the company ceased production of fresh milk at the Camperdown site, opting instead to hone resources on infant formula and other dairy nutritionals such as milk powders.