January 12, 2018 / 7:19 AM / 8 months ago

Aryzta seeks to right North American ops, strategy with new hires

ZURICH, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Swiss-Irish bakery company Aryzta on Friday named new North America and strategy chiefs as it tackles problems in the United States, where issues with undocumented workers and a failed retail strategy prompted a $1 billion loss.

Dave Johnson, a U.S. citizen previously at Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut and Kraft, will become Aryzta’s CEO North America on Jan. 23, while Irishman John Heffernan becomes chief strategy officer on Feb. 28.

In September, Aryzta reported a full-year loss of 907.8 million euros ($1.09 billion) after its bid to sell its Otis Spunkmeyer cookie products directly to retail customers backfired.

The company also had to take a goodwill writedown of 492 million euros in North America, in part as 800 experienced workers left its Cloverhill Bakery unit after a federal raid raised questions about their employment eligibility.

“I look forward to working with Dave and John who will strengthen and deepen our team’s expertise as we focus on our core strengths and to returning Aryzta to performance and growth,” said Chief Executive Kevin Toland, who replaced Owen Killian as part of a sweeping management swap-out last year.

Both Johnson and Heffernan, who is joining Aryzta from daa plc that operates Dublin and Cork Airports, will be on the company’s group executive committee.

$1 = 0.8303 euros Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Michael Shields

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