Managing director of stockfeed producer, Ridley Corporation, Tim Hart, has suddenly stepped down, coinciding with the company announcing its full-year profit may be at least $1 million below market expectations.
Mr Hart, who has been at the helm at the animal and aquaculture feed business for six years, will be replaced, in an interim move, by former Saputo Australia president and Warrnambool Cheese and Butter managing director, David Lord.
Mr Lord is a director on the Ridley board, serving on its remuneration and nominations committee, and also a director of Dairy Australia.
Ridley's chief financial officer, Alan Boyd, said the company had begun an executive search to find a permanent replacement for Mr Hart.
Ridley is the company behind widely known animal nutrition brands, Barastock, Rumevite, Cobber dog food and the Primo aquaculture lines.
Chairman, Dr Gary Weis, said the board believed it was the right time for a leadership change and had thanked Mr Hart for his contribution.
He said Ridley would continue to focus on its domestic growth plans, leveraging its state of the art production facilities and accelerating the commercialisation of its Novacq aquaculture feed, developed with CSIRO, and now being franchised internationally.
No other details behind Mr Hart's departure decision, or his future plans were provided.
He joined Ridley in April 2013 from Sugar Australia, the joint venture refining and export business of Wilmar and Mackay Sugar.
Although the feed company has forecast a full-year profit firmly above last financial year's $17.4m, Ridley has advised shareholders it now anticipated a result of between $22m and $24m, rather than the market analyst consensus forecast of $25m.
The company's share price had already taken a tumble early in the week, sinking to $1.14 a share, but after recovering to about $1.22 the market sold it down again to $1.19/share when trading closed on Friday.
Ridley shares have been slipping for the past two years, down from a peak about $1.60 in August 2017 to $1.43 early this year and losing a further 15 per cent of their value since.
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