South Africa based canned food maker RFG names Pieter Hanekom as new CEO to succeed Bruce Henderson

SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa’s leading producer of fresh, frozen and long-life convenience meal solutions, RFG Group has announced that the company’s long-serving CEO, Bruce Henderson, will be stepping down from the helm of the company in September this year.

Henderson who has served as CEO of RFG for 22 years will be succeeded by Pieter Hanekom, the group’s current Deputy CEO.

RFG Chairperson Dr Yvonne Muthien said Henderson led the group with distinction, overseeing the expansion from a single brand fruit business into a diversified, multi-brand food producer owning a portfolio of market-leading brands and a world-class production base.

“During this time the group has concluded multiple acquisitions and expanded into several new product categories and geographic markets. Bruce led the listing on the JSE in 2014 which was a pivotal point in the group’s history,” she said.

Henderson will continue to serve on the board in a non-executive capacity from 1 October 2021.

“Pieter has been a member of the RFG executive committee since 2015. He led the group’s successful entry into the fruit juice market and subsequent growth in this highly competitive category.”

RFG Chairperson – Dr Yvonne Muthien

Hanekom, 56, will be promoted to CEO on 1 October 2021. He joined RFG in 2015 as Managing Director of long-life beverages and was promoted to his current position in July 2020.

“Pieter has been a member of the RFG executive committee since 2015. He led the group’s successful entry into the fruit juice market and subsequent growth in this highly competitive category.

“He has been integrally involved in the development of the strategy and the expansion of the long-life foods business and we congratulate him on his well-deserved appointment as CEO,” said Dr Muthien.

Hanekom has more than three decades experience in the food industry, including 20 years at Pioneer Foods where he was managing director of Ceres Fruit Juices and head of the Ceres Beverage Company.

The innovative food processor, reported a double-digit growth in earnings in the six months to end March, despite the impact of Covid-19 on its operations.

The owner of market-leading brands Rhodes, Bull Brand, Magpie, Squish, Bisto, Hinds and Pakco, has reported a 46.4% increase in headline earnings to R119 million (US$8.53m) and headline earnings per share has gone up by 46.2% to 45.6 cents a share.

Its operating profit increased by 14.9% to R185 million (US$13.26m).

However, its turnover declined by 3.4% to R2.8 billion (US$200m) owing to the impact of the Covid-19 restrictions on fruit juice and pies, two of the group’s largest product categories.

Revenue was also impacted by slower international sales owing to shipping and logistics challenges.

Turnover in the regional segment, which includes South Africa and the rest of Africa, was 1.7% lower, reflecting the impact of the additional Covid-19 restrictions imposed during the second wave of the pandemic over the festive season.

While, International turnover was 12.6% lower owing mainly to global logistics challenges and congestion at the Cape Town harbour which had a significantly adverse impact on exports in March.

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