Yowie Group has named Nicholas Bolton as CEO of the Australian confectionery maker in the wake of a successful takeover by Keybridge Capital.

Bolton, who is a manging director at Melbourne, Victoria-based Keybridge, fills the vacant seat left by Mark Schuessler, who stepped down as CEO and managing director last July.

Schuessler had helmed the publicly-listed business since 2018 after serving as chief operating officer for two years.

“Following Keybridge’s successful takeover, my initial focus as CEO is to aggressively rationalise the costs structure of the business, whilst promoting innovative products at sustainable margins,” Bolton said in a Yowie filing with the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

“The Yowie products form an important part of Australian culture, and I am very proud to be part of the team that takes Yowie to the world.”

Yowie, headquartered in Perth in Western Australia, markets its namesake products in Australia and the US to “promote learning, understanding and engagement with the natural world”, featuring Yowie characters such as Rumble and Squish. It outsources production and distribution.

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Before the Keybridge takeover reached its conclusion, Yowie reported further losses in April for its third quarter through March. The EBITDA loss was $707,000 – Yowie reports in US dollars – versus a £206,000 loss a year earlier.

The loss was attributed to improvements to the Coburg North, Melbourne facility of Ernest Hillier, the Australia chocolate maker, or assets and plant, that Yowie bought out of administration in 2023.

Revenue increased 42% to $5.1m.

Keybridge first made an off-market takeover bid for Yowie in December, when it was already the largest shareholder in the novelty chocolate business.

The approach followed pressure from the investor in 2020, when it held 23% of the shares, to press for a new board of directors at Yowie.

After delays in the takeover process, Keybridge announced to the ASX it had taken its ownership to 78.359% after gaining acceptances from shareholders.

In the filing yesterday (22 May), the investor said it would now work to “acquire more than 50% (but less than 90%) of Yowie shares”.

Meanwhile, Yowie has also appointed a new executive chair, John Patton. He replaces Sean Taylor, who resigned in April having held the position since December 2021.

Advising of the management changes, Yowie also said it reported an “operational loss” in April amounting to $363,000, taking year-to-date losses to $1.7m.

“The current board and management are targeting a series of structural changes to the company’s operations which should achieve annualised ongoing savings of more than $1 million each year,” Yowie said.