Murray River Organics has appointed Albert Zago as chief financial officer to replace Matthew O’Brien who will become the Australian dried fruits producer’s commercial and planning general manager.

Zago’s appointment is effective today (15 January), according to a statement. He was most recently CFO of Pental, a cleaning products firm, and previously spent 11 years at hardware retailer Mitre 10 Australia, following stints at industrial company GUD Holdings. He has also held roles at accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers and Hall Chadwick.

Murray River chief executive George Haggar said bringing in Zago is part of his strategy to continue building momentum and return the company to growth. 

Haggar became CEO on 9 November to replace Erling Sorensen, who resigned. Haggar was previously chief operating officer for Australia-based produce supplier Costa Group. In August, Murray River announced  founder, COO and executive director Jamie Nemtsas would relinquish those roles to return to wealth management advisory services, but would remain a “significant” shareholder after instigating an initial share offering.

The company’s brands include Premium Australian Clusters and Pacific Organics.

Haggar said: “We are excited to have someone of Albert’s calibre join our team, who is committed to improving our performance and enabling the company to realise its full potential as a leading Australian producer, manufacturer, packer and seller of organic, natural and better-for-you food products. 

“He brings a positive approach to change management and continuous improvement that will serve us well, not just as we get on with business and tackle our short-term challenges, but also in the medium to long term as we position Murray River Organics for sustainable growth.”

Former CEO Sorensen said in August when the company announced a net loss of AUD6m (US$4.8m at the time) for the 12 months ended in June: “FY17 has been a milestone year for MRG. In addition to the IPO, we have invested some AUD44.5m into growing, streamlining and making the business and our offering to the global marketplace broader and more versatile through a number of significant acquisitions and capital projects.”

The company said at the time it had invested in improving its Sunraysia processing facility in Mourquong, established an organically certified consumer packaged goods plant in Dandenong, Victoria, and instigated the full integration of the businesses of Food Source International and Australian Organic Holdings, as well as the acquisition of the Fifth Street vineyard and the Nangiloc property.  

In a statement on 9 November announcing Haggar’s appointment, the company said it expects fiscal 2018 revenue to come in around AUD87.5m to AUD92.5m and to book EBITDA on a reported basis of AUD10-11m.