SOUTH AFRICA – The South African packaged goods company, Tiger Brands has announced changes to its executive leadership following a listeriosis outbreak that is reported to have cost it close to US$29 million, reported Business Day.

The company said Yokesh Maharaj would join the group from early July as chief growth officer for exports and international division as well as snacks, treats and beverages under the consumer brands division.

Before the appointment, Maharaj was Africa’s Managing Director for Distell and he previously spent 17 years at South African Breweries as both executive director for sales and distribution and executive director for human capital.

Also, the group chief financial officer Noel Doyle has been added responsibility for the company’s value-added meat products (Vamp) segment, where the group’s listeriosis woes began.

The changes follow the appointment of former chief growth officer, Grattan Kirk as the new chief executive officer of Exclusive Books.

According to a SENS announcement released by Tiger Brands, Kirk handed in resignation to pursue the retail sector effective date June 22.

Kirk succeeds Benjamin Trisk and the two are reported to have reached an ‘amicable’ agreement with the board, following a collapse in the relationship between shareholders.

According to Bloomberg, Kirk holds a Chartered Accountancy qualification has played various roles at Connection Group Holdings and Incredible Connection.

He served as Business Executive of Consumer Brands since 2013 until 2017 then as Chief Growth Officer of Grocery & Home, Personal Care & Baby at Tiger Brands Limited.

Meanwhile, Noel said the Listeriosis disease outbreak continues to cost Tiger Brands US$3.90m a month.

The outbreak which has killed about 200 people heavily weighed down on the firm’s earnings which were decreased 16% in the half year results.

Tiger Brands said it had a slow start of the year due to difficult trading environment as sales dropped 4% to US$1.3 billion compared to a year earlier.