Australian poultry firm Inghams Group has appointed experienced food industry executive Andrew Reeves as CEO to replace Jim Leighton.

Leighton, who has been CEO since 2018, is returning to the US.

Reeves, who will also become the firm’s managing director, is a non-executive director at the company. His most recent executive role was as CEO of Associated British Foods’ George Weston Foods unit in Australia and New Zealand, a role he held between 2011 and 2016. He is also a former managing director of Lion Dairy & Drinks and has served as chair and deputy chair of trade body the Australian Food & Grocery Council.

Chairman Peter Bush said: “Jim leaves as a good leaver and with our very best wishes. He is returning to the United States for personal reasons. Jim joined us in 2018 and, as our recently released 1H results demonstrate, he and his team have significantly improved the operations of our company. 

“Ingham’s is fortunate to have someone of Andrew Reeves experience and calibre on our board and in a position to become our chief executive officer. His great knowledge of Ingham’s will ensure a smooth transition and no loss of momentum in the business. Andrew is an experienced consumer goods executive in the food and beverage sector who has served as CEO and managing director of the Australian and New Zealand subsidiaries of large listed Australian and multinational companies.” 

Leighton will remain with Sydney-listed Inghams until the end of the financial year to “facilitate an orderly handover”.

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By GlobalData

In the half-year to 26 December 2020, Inghams recorded sale of AUD1.36bn (US$1.03bn), an increase of 4.6% year-on-year. Its EBITDA was up 5% to AUD215.6m.