Arla Foods named Tim Smith as its new chief executive. Smith, who is responsible for Arla's corporate affairs, will take over from Neil Davidson on June 1.
Hanne Sondergaard, executive director (Marketing) and Martin Gilbert, executive director (Operations) will also join the company's board on that date.
Davidson, who announced his retirement as chief executive on January 24, has decided to leave the board effective June 1, as well. However, he will continue working within the company as a consultant to complete certain specific projects.
Sir David Naish, chairman, said, “We are delighted with the appointment of Tim as chief executive. After Neil informed the board of his retirement, it was felt appropriate to conduct a full review of potential candidates. After extensive research and the use of outside consultants, the board unanimously decided — because of Tim's experience, leadership qualities and industry knowledge — that an internal appointment was the correct route to follow.
“As it is an internal appointment, the board felt that Tim should take up his position as soon as practical, and Neil felt that this would be an appropriate time to retire from the board.
“We would like to thank Neil for his considerable contribution first to Northern Foods, then Express Dairies and more recently to Arla and the milk industry over the last 27 years, where there have been significant changes and many challenges. We wish him well in his retirement.”
Smith joined the board of Express Dairies plc in November 1999. Since the merger with Arla Foods in October 2003, he has been the executive director responsible for Corporate Affairs. He began his career in the food industry with Unigate in 1978 and then held senior management positions in the dairy and convenience food sectors with Northern Foods before becoming president and CEO of Sara Lee Bakeries U.K. in 1995. He is also a non-executive director of QV Foods Limited.
Gilbert has 30 years experience in the supply chain management of food manufacturing. He has spent the last nine years as head of the Express Dairies (now Arla) distribution business. He is currently the group executive responsible for Distribution. He joined the dairy industry after holding senior management positions with Exel and Unilever.
Sondergaard began her career in marketing with Danish MD Foods (now Arla Foods amba). After relocating to the U.K. and a period in sales, she was appointed marketing director in 2001 and became a member of the group executive after the merger with Express Dairies in October 2003.