Blog: Dean BestThe market takes one more swipe at Premier's Schofield

Dean Best | 11 August 2011

The market can be brutal.

When Premier Foods plc's outgoing CEO Robert Schofield announced in April that he was to step down after a mixed nine years at the top, the UK food maker's shares rose. Schofield said he would leave Premier when it found a replacement or by 28 April next year, which ever date came sooner.

Last month, there were reports that Premier's key investors wanted Schofield replaced immediately after the company issued a surprise profit warning.

Ten days later, Premier revealed it had appointed former Kraft Foods executive Mike Clarke as its new chief executive - and the company's stock climbed again.

And the shares were up once more today (11 August) after Premier revealed that Clarke would be able to join the business on 16 August, two weeks earlier than planned.

A spokesperson for Premier insisted there was not anything to read into today's announcement. As far as the spokesperson was aware, investors had not been hankering for Schofield to leave even sooner. "It's only two weeks, it's not like it's six months," the spokesperson said, adding that it was a "regulatory requirement" that a statement had to be issued.

Clarke, then, will get his feet under the table next Tuesday and, as we reported last month, he has plenty on his to-do list.


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