The former CEO of Milk Link, Neil Kennedy, has said his decision to leave his role at new parent firm Arla Foods has nothing to do with the dairy giant’s strategy for the recently-acquired business.

Kennedy, who is to leave his post as SVP for milk and member services at the end of March, said yesterday (10 January) his decision is “purely personal”. The announcement of his exit comes only a few months after Kennedy took on the role, following Arla’s merger with the Milk Link co-operative.
“Having been heavily involved in the merger process, I now feel that the time is right to take on a new challenge and pursue new opportunities outside of Arla,” he said. His immediate future plans were not clear.

Kennedy reiterated his confidence in Arla’s strategy towards Milk Link. “As chief executive of Milk Link, my vision, one shared by the Milk Link board, the executive and most importantly our farmers, was to establish a vertically integrated farmer-owned business that could provide its members with long-term security, stability and sustainability. I firmly believe that the merger with Arla, one of the world’s largest and most progressive farmer owned dairy businesses, will deliver this.”

Arla’s UK CEO, Peter Lauritzen, said he is “disappointed” to see Kennedy go and wished him well for the future.

From April, Ash Amirahmadi, Arla’s vice president for marketing, will assume responsibility for milk and member services in addition to his marketing role.

“Ash is taking on the role permanently,” a spokesperson for Arla UK told just-food. “He held the milk and member services role prior to the merger, but moved to the marketing role when the merger took place and Neil joined the business.”