Cussons revenue and profit fall as CEO leaves

Manchester-based soaps and consumer products company PZ Cussons said on Thursday its long-time chief executive officer Alex Kanellis will retire from the company on January 31, 2020.

Chair Caroline Silver will become executive chair on February 1 until a new CEO is appointed.

The news came as Cussons issued a trading update for the half year to November 30 showing that “challenging market conditions across key geographies led to a decline in first half revenue and operating profit compared with last year.”

In its full year outlook, Cussons said: “A stronger second half is expected subject to no further worsening of the economic and trading environments across our key geographies.

“Full year revenue and adjusted profit before tax is expected to be modestly below the prior year on a like-for-like basis.”

Kanellis has been with Cussons since 1993 and has been CEO since 2006.  

“During that time he has overseen significant development of the group, including the operational restructuring of the business, the creation of the beauty division, the development of the joint venture businesses in Africa and, most recently, the resetting of the group’s strategy to begin the process of returning the Group to profitable growth,” said Cussons.

“A search for Alex’s successor has been initiated and the process is expected to be completed in the first half of 2020.

“Pending the appointment of the new chief executive officer, Caroline Silver will become executive chair with effect from 1 February 2020.

“Alan Bergin will continue as interim chief financial officer.”

Silver said: “The board would like to thank Alex for his lifetime of service to PZ Cussons.

“His commitment to the CANDO and Good 4 Business values and culture which make PZ Cussons so special and his tireless efforts to develop and grow the business in each of its key markets are truly appreciated, particularly during recent difficult years.  

“During his 13 year tenure as chief executive officer, Alex has led numerous initiatives which have shaped the business, including the acquisition of the brands which now underpin the group’s growth and future potential.  

“The group is now ready to move onto the next chapter under new leadership and we are confident that the opportunities to return to profitable growth are significant.”

Kanellis said: “It has been a privilege to serve the company and the board as chief executive officer and I am proud to have worked with so many fantastic people across the business over many years.

“The company has a stable of great brands and enjoys strong long term relationships with partners across all regions but, above all, it is our unique CANDO culture and our people which makes PZ Cussons special and which, as I retire from the company, gives me the confidence that the business has a bright future ahead.”