Tongaat Hulett appoints John Gain Hudson new CEO

SOUTH AFRICA – Tongaat Hulett, agriculture and agri-processing group, appointed former SABMiller executive John Gain Hudson as new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective from February 2019, reports Business Day,

Gain Hudson, 49 years old, will replace the long-serving CEO, Peter Staude, and will spearhead the group’s strategic review as Tongaat seeks to revive its under-performing sugar sector.

Peter Staude has held the position since his appointment in 2002 until his retirement in November 2018.

While giving an insight of its priorities, Tongaat said that Hudson would lead the strategic review and direction of the group in order to restore shareholder returns to acceptable levels, improve cash generation and reduce debt levels.

The company described Hudson as an accomplished business executive with considerable experience in diverse and challenging markets in the alcoholic beverages industry.

“He was previously the Beer Group president and chief executive officer of Anadolu Efes, a company listed on the Turkish stock exchange.

Prior to this, Hudson served as the managing director of Anadolu Efes’ beer businesses in Turkey and Russia and spent 26 years within SABMiller, holding senior roles both in South Africa and internationally,” the company said.

Hudson served as Sales Vice President of Colombia at SABMiller Latin America since 2011 and managing director at Efes Russia – Beer Group at Efes Russia

Before his appointment Mr Sydney Mtsambiwa has been serving as the interim CEO for the past six months.

In the past five years, Tongaat’s performance has been on the decline including the 57.27% loss of its value on the JSE, compared with the all-share index’s growth of 16.32%.

The company also recorded a fall in its revenue for the period six months to September 30 2018 which it attributed to the conclusion of fewer-than-expected land sales.

In the six months, Tongaat suffered a headline loss of R87m, compared to R661m in 2017 in addition to the collapsing of its strategy to sell some of its prime land in KwaZulu-Natal.

Tongaat Hulett’s main businesses are sugar, artificial starch and property management and animal feeds in South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

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