Cloetta, the confectionery group behind the Sportlife and Candyking brands, is looking for a new CEO after Henri de Sauvage-Nolting handed in his notice.

The Sweden-based group announced today (25 January) de Sauvage-Nolting – who has been at the helm for seven years – had resigned from the roles of president and CEO. He will stay in post until 1 September.

In a statement, Cloetta sought to emphasise the improvements in sales and profits the company had seen during de Sauvage-Nolting’s tenure while moving from “primarily acquisition-driven growth” to organic expansion. He joined Cloetta in February 2017, the same month the company snapped up fellow Swedish confectionery Candyking Holding.

The statement pointed to net sales growing from SKr6bn ($573.8m) to a “rolling-12-month” figure of more than SKr8bn. Profits rose from SKr600m to “close to” SKr800m in the “corresponding most-recently reported” period. Cloetta is due to announce its full financial results for 2023 tomorrow.

Mikael Norman, Cloetta’s chairman, said de Sauvage-Nolting had done a “fantastic job” during his time in charge. “I know this has been a tough and difficult decision for him and the board sincerely regrets that he will be leaving the company. Henri has led the company through a few years with exceptional uncertainty in the operating environment and has, despite that, managed to deliver both strong results as well as a stronger commercial and operational base,” Norman said.

Under de Sauvage-Nolting, Cloetta has made changes to its manufacturing network, including closing factories in Belgium and the Netherlands.

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However, the company is planning to build a new Dutch site, a move to which Norman also referred. “Henri has led the preparatory work for the Greenfield investment in the Netherlands,” Norman said.

“This investment will enable significant cost savings, facilitate further growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

For his part, de Sauvage-Nolting described his decision to resign as “difficult”. He added: “I will be leaving behind a strong and talented group management team, with whom it has been such a pleasure to work with every day as well as a strong organisation, whose ability to deliver and support I could always count on.

“Coming into more stable business circumstances and building on the consumer- and customer-focused organisation we have created together over the last years, I feel that this is the right time to make a smooth transition with as little disruption as possible to the positive momentum that Cloetta has established.”