A2 Milk Company shares on watch after shock CEO exit

The A2 Milk Company Ltd (ASX:A2M) share price will be on watch today after the shock exit of its CEO Jayne Hrdlicka…

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Source: Company presentation

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The A2 Milk Company Ltd (ASX: A2M) share price will be on watch today after the shock announcement of the departure of its managing director and chief executive officer, Jayne Hrdlicka.

What happened?

This morning the a2 Milk Company board revealed that Jayne Hrdlicka has agreed to step down from her role with immediate effect.

The company’s former CEO, Geoffrey Babidge, will replace Hrdlicka on an interim basis whilst the board searches globally for a permanent replacement.

Chairman David Hearn said: “The Board wishes to thank Jayne for the important contribution she has made to the Company and remains confident that the strategic course of the business which was recently communicated at the Annual Meeting will continue to deliver strong rewards to all shareholders in the future.”

“The Board recruited Jayne primarily for her ability and experience in developing and implementing strategy, recognising that the company needed to develop a refined strategy for the business to meet the new challenges in the next phase of our development. The Board fully endorses the strategy which Jayne and the senior leadership team have developed,” he added.

The future remains bright.

Jayne Hrdlicka appears confident that she is leaving the company in a strong position to continue its growth.

She said: “The a2 Milk Company is an extraordinary business and I joined the company excited about the opportunity to help define its full potential and deliver against it. Board and management have worked closely together to chart the future and it is no doubt bright and we are well advanced in executing it. I am delighted with how much progress has been made, the momentum underway in executing the strategy and the strength of the current leadership team.”

Hrdlicka then revealed that the increasing demands from the role were behind her decision to step down.

The outgoing CEO said: “The reality however is that the next 3-5 years will continue to require the CEO being present in our core markets of China and the US and that combined with running a New Zealand company based in Australia required more travel than I had anticipated when I joined the company.”

“The Board and I agreed that this next phase is going to be too difficult to manage alongside my other commitments whilst also managing the health and wellness priorities of my family and me,” added Hrdlicka.

“My passion and commitment to this great company is unchanged and I will of course work closely with the board and new CEO as required to ensure a smooth transition,” she concluded.

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of A2 Milk. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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