Ahmed named Tate & Lyle CEO

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Tate & lyle

Tate & Lyle has announced a new man at the helm later this year – Javed Ahmed, who will take over from Iain Ferguson in November.

Ferguson has led the company as CEO since 2003, but rumours circulated in the UK press last month that he was on his way out, and that recruitment firm Egon Zehnder was leading the search for a replacement.

In recent years Tate & Lyle has been refocusing to reduce its dependency on sugar, following changes to the European sugar regime, and transforming into a health and wellness oriented company. There have been concerns about its profits, however, as a result of weakness in its starch operations and slow take up of ethanol as an alternative fuel.

At the beginning of April the company said its profit before tax for the year to 31 March was expected to be marginally below previous guidance. However net debt had been reduced to less than £1.25 billion, around £300 million less than at 31 December 2008, and over £150 million lower at 31 March 2008, after exchange rates were taken into account.

Another recent blow came as the US’s International Trade Commission ruled that a number of competitors on the sucralose scene were not infringing its patents. This development – long fought by Tate & Lyle, which invented sucralose in the 1970s – significantly increases competition in the market for this ingredient.

Reckitt has been with the Benckiser business since 1992. Ferguson will stay on at Tate & Lyle until he takes up his new post on 15 November, and “will ensure an orderly handover”.

The change completes a reshuffle of the board at Tate & Lyle. Chairman Sir David Lees is to be replaced by Sir Peter Gershon, non-executive chairman of Premier Farnell.

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