Danish Crown has started the search process for a new CEO as Jais Valeur revealed his intention to step down from the role.

The former Arla Foods executive joined the meat cooperative as CEO in 2015. He will stay on with Danish Crown until a replacement is secured as the board decided to accelerate the process after Valeur had earlier informed the co-op of his intention to leave.

“Earlier in the year, I informed Danish Crown that I do not see myself as CEO of the company in the longer term. I can therefore appreciate why the board of directors wants to accelerate this process and look further ahead to ensure that the company can embrace its new strategy with a new executive board in place for the longer term,” Valeur said in a statement today (3 June).

“Danish Crown has come a long way while I’ve been at the helm, but there is still a huge and also highly exciting task facing the company in the coming years. It will call for a massive and persistent effort by the executive board.”

Danish Crown also lost its chairman Erik Bredholt last November in the wake of an interview with Denmark’s Finans business news publication, in which he suggested the co-op would be open to investor interest in some parts of the business.

Months earlier, the Denmark meat processor had said it was aiming to boost its “earnings” over a two-year period by “at least” DKr1.5bn ($217.9m today) through a multi-faceted initiative, including improving efficiencies at its facilities through technology to cut production costs.

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In its most recent financial results, the half year to 31 March, Danish Crown reported revenue of DKr33.5bn, a decrease of 2.9%.

Gross profit fell 2.7% to DKr4.7bn, while net profit was down 15% at DKr764m.

Danish Crown said today that the co-op has been working on a new strategy since May, “which is expected to be ready for presentation in the autumn”.

Asger Krogsgaard, who replaced Bredholt as chairman last year, said: “Both the board and Jais have come to the conclusion that Danish Crown needs a new leadership and one that will be in place for the duration of the comprehensive task ahead of us.

“Jais is handing over a core business which in many ways is geared to delivering positive and long-term value creation for us, its owners. However, it is vital for the board of directors that we always pay competitive settlement prices to our owners, and the situation at the moment is such that Danish Crown’s competitiveness must be improved.”

In another executive change, Danish Crown is set to name a new finance chief to replace the outgoing Thomas Ahle, who is leaving to join Denmark-based building materials supplier Stark Group.

A hiring agreement with the new CFO has been struck with a starting date of 1 December. The incoming individual will be named “after the summer holidays out of consideration for the person’s current employer”, Danish Crown said.