Murray River Group chair says dark days are over; it’s safe to open your eyes now
Food & Agriculture
Food & Agriculture
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The boss of Murray River Group says the health food maker’s troubles — which began almost as soon as the company listed in 2016 — are now over.
In an interview with Stockhead, Murray River chairman Andrew Monk repeatedly used the words “reset” and “realignment”.
Murray River’s troubles arguably began with a bad harvest last summer, followed by the two founders being forced out and profit and inventory write downs. A major boardroom battle followed, as the founders successfully regained control of the company.
Murray River now has an almost completely new board — and the two founders have since sold out.
Mr Monk said Murray River’s (ASX:MRG) new board would be hands-on for the next three to six months before handing over to new CEO Valentina Tripp.
“We need as a board to be intimately involved in that growth stage,” Mr Monk told Stockhead.
Ms Tripp, who was one of the candidates for a non-executive director position earlier this year, has been brought in to rebrand the business and lead the charge into Asia.
The new chief has already visited major shareholders as the company seeks to lift its game when it comes to investor communications.
Mr Monk blamed the problems of the last 18 months partly on growing too fast.
However, he’s still looking for quick wins as the company works on its Asia and organics strategies: he cited Ms Tripp’s achievement of launching 12 brands in 12 months while at butcher Top Cut as a key selling point on her CV.
Why did chief George Haggar leave?
Mr Monk could shed little light on the surprise exit of chief George Haggar, who resigned at the start of April after only five months in the job.
Mr Haggar said he was resigning as he believed the company would be best helped by a new pair of hands — though he agreed to stay on until the end of June.
When asked why Murray River (ASX:MRG) needed a new CEO when the current one was only appointed in November, Mr Monk said Mr Haggar’s forte was turnarounds, which he had almost achieved.
Mr Haggar would finish his work righting the ship and hand over to Ms Tripp who was expected to lead a rebuilding period.
Both men — who Mr Monk said worked together very well — recognised the business need a “full reset”.
But he also said Mr Haggar wanted a level of autonomy in his work when the board felt it needn’t to take a more hands on approach.
Murray River shares closed flat at 37c on Tuesday.