Aryzta picks DAA boss Kevin Toland for CEO position

Troubled baked goods group Aryzta has hired Kevin Toland from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) to be its new chief executive.

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Mr Toland has headed the DAA for the past five years, during which time passenger numbers at Dublin Airport have increased from 19m to 28m passengers per year and the capital’s airport has emerged to be the fastest growing in Europe.

The DAA owns and operates Dublin and Cork airports. Aryzta said its board had unanimously selected Mr Toland “on the basis of his proven track record, deep global sector expertise and the specific relevance of his background and experience for Aryzta today”.

“Mr Toland has an established track record of successfully managing multiple stakeholder groups,” it said and that he had been selected after a rigorous process to select and recruit a world-class CEO.

Aryzta’s new management team, led by chairman Gary McGann, himself a former chair of the DAA, have been undertaking a strategy review and hunt for a new executive team since an erosion of investor confidence.

That investor unrest was fuelled by falling earnings and unpopular investment decisions. It led to the recent departure of chief executive Owen Killian, chief financial officer Patrick McEniff and head of American operations John Yamin.

Aryzta was formed by the 1998 merger of IAWS and Swiss firm Hiestand. It is best known here for its Cuisine de France bread and pastries ranges. Its share price is down over 24% this year. It fell by another 2.5% yesterday largely on uncertainty surrounding the future of its controversial 49% stake in highly-indebted French food retailer Picard, which has been a major frustration for shareholders.

Mr Toland is scheduled to take up his new job after a customary six-month notice period, or earlier if agreed, and Aryzta’s board will be hoping he can not only summon the magic touch he has shown at the DAA, but also some of the results he presided over when head of dairy group Glanbia’s US operations between 2003 and 2013.

There he led Glanbia USA & Global Nutritionals to becoming the largest manufacturer and exporter of American-style cheese in the US and a global leader in the sports nutrition market. During his time at the helm, that business grew from a standing start to revenues of over $1bn.

The US Cheese business, alone, more than doubled revenues to $1.8bn and increased its US market share from 6% to 13% on Mr Toland’s watch.

“The division he led employed more than 2,600 people in four global business units across north America, Europe and Asia,” said Aryzta.

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