The new CEO of Denmark-based meat cooperative Danish Crown’s troubled UK subsidiary, Tulip, has announced a major shake-up of the firm, just days after his appointment, to help Tulip regain its “mojo”.
Steve Francis, who Danish Crown described as Tulip’s “problem solver” when he took up his post on 5 September, is splitting the subsidiary into four business divisions as part of his plan to “address some of the key challenges facing the business”.
The new divisions are Tulip Fresh, Tulip Added Value, Tulip Agriculture and the existing meat-processing subsidiary Dalehead Foods, which the company described as a “well-established” business model.
Francis said: “I believe that we have great talent and commitment in our business, however, we need to work more effectively as a connected team – both internally and with our farmers and customers. Each of the four business divisions will have its own leadership team, objectives and strategy, while remaining part of a single, joined-up organisation.”
On the need for change at Tulip, Francis said: “It would be fair to say that the business has lost some of its focus while operating in an extremely competitive marketplace. My role is to lead it back to being the industry leader, put in very simple terms, the company needs to regain its mojo.”
Francis said: “Tulip is a great business but, over the last few years or so, it has lost its edge. It’s not that Tulip has gotten worse, more a case of the competition having moved forward. I want to simplify what we do, which isn’t terribly difficult because we’re a great business with fantastic customer relationships, so we are starting out from a position of strength.”
Tulip needs to “reinforce the things we are already doing well and stop what we are doing less well”, the CEO said.
“We need to simplify our business and add pace. I aim to enable and encourage more of our people to have the courage to try new things and to take a lead. Great teams have many leaders. My role is to provide a clear and consistent direction with a simple compelling vision so that managers in all areas of our operation know where we are going and how we are going to get there. This, combined with a rethink of our priorities, will put this business firmly back to its rightful position as the industry leader.”
Francis, who has worked for international companies such as McKinsey, PwC and Barclays, has held a number of executive positions with the Netherlands-based meat processor slaughterhouse Vion Food Group. Most recently, Francis was CEO of UK print company Danwood, where Danish Crown said “he turned a loss of more than DKK80m (US$12m) into a profit of more than DKK50m within the space of 12 months”.
Danish Crown said last May its profits were coming under pressure in what it described as a “tough” retail market. The group posted net profit of EUR819m ($912.8m) for the first six months of its 2015/16 financial year, compared to EUR852m a year earlier.