Maple Leaf Foods chief financial officer to stepdown, launches search for successor

CANADA – Maple Leafs Foods, a major Canadian consumer packaged meats company, has announced that its Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Debbie Simpson has decided to leave her position effective November 1, 2019.

The company, house to Country Naturals, Greenfield Natural Meat and Maple Leaf brands said that Simpson’s departure follows a transition period that will lead to the appointment of a new CFO.

According to a PRNewswire update, Simpson joined the Company 12 years ago and has served as Chief Financial Officer for the last five years. An executive search is underway for her successor.

“This is an inflection point in my career and the right time both personally and professionally for me to take on a new challenge in a new industry,” Simpson said.

“I have enjoyed my career with Maple Leaf immensely. In the process, I have worked alongside a Finance team with great depth and experience and I am committed to ensuring a smooth transition. “

“Debbie has made a very significant contribution to Maple Leaf through her executive leadership in financial management, reporting and strategic initiatives that have shaped the future of our company,” said Michael McCain, President and CEO.

“We have benefited immensely from her expertise and dedication and wish her the very best as she pursues her next challenge.”

During the second quarter of its 2019 fiscal year, Maple Foods recorded growth in sales by 12.5 per cent during the period, fuelled in part by growing demand for plant-based protein products.

The company’s revenue grew to US$1.02 billion, up from US$909.2 million a year ago, driven by acquisitions, its value-added product portfolio and continued double-digit growth in plant-based protein.

However, it posted a loss of US$4.77 million (C$6.3 million). The loss compares to net earnings of US$26.43 million (C$34.9 million) for the second quarter of fiscal year 2019.

Maple Leaf Foods chief executive Michael McCain said its meat protein business delivered excellent profit growth even with difficult market conditions, and it is well-positioned to capitalize on the growing demand for plant-based protein.

Maple is increasing its investment in plant-based meat alternatives and has recently introduced several products in the category, including the Lightlife Plant-Based Burger, and committed to building a US$310 million plant-based protein manufacturing facility.

Maple Leaf also released several pea-based sausages during the most recent quarter, including a beer bratwurst in partnership with Elysian Brewing, Seattle.

Under the three meat alternative market categories; refrigerated retail, frozen retail and food service, the company competes in the refrigerated retail market, which it sees as currently the largest meat alternative segment.

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