Greencore has announced that its chief executive officer (CEO) Patrick Coveney is to step down in March 2022.

The Cork man informed the board that he is stepping down from his role as director and CEO, effective from 30 March 2022 “to take up a senior leadership role in a different sector”.

Greencore said that a search process to appoint a new CEO will commence immediately.

Pending the appointment of a new CEO, non-executive chair Gary Kennedy will take a more active role in the business and will assume the role of executive chair from 31 March 2022.

Greencore’s chief commercial officer Kevin Moore will assume the role of deputy chief executive with immediate effect. In the intervening period, Coveney will continue to lead the executive team as CEO.

Deep gratitude

Kennedy said: “On behalf of the board, I would like to express our deep gratitude to Patrick for leading the business for the past 14 years and for transforming Greencore into the UK's leading convenience food business. We wish him well in the future.

“We will commence a search process to appoint a new CEO immediately and we will update on progress in due course.

"In the meantime, our experienced management team will continue to focus on the priorities of the business and we look forward to updating the market on performance and prospects on Tuesday at our FY21 results."

Coveney is the brother of Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.

Full-year results

Greencore Group plc will be announcing its full year 2021 results on Tuesday.

Its share price has struggled since COVID-19 took a grip, as the convenience food market has struggled.

On average, share price for the last 20 months is down 25% to 30% where it had been trading pre-COVID-19.

In May 2021, Greencore sank to a loss in the six months to March and issued a cautious outlook for the full year, as COVID-19 restrictions continued to eat into sales and profits.

At the time, Greencore said revenues fell 19% to £577m (€685m) for the six months, resulting in a loss of £1.8m, down from £27.3m (€32.4m) of pre-tax profits in the same period a year earlier.

At the time, Coveney said: “This has been a challenging period for Greencore, but the consistent build in our revenues since early March as lockdown measures have eased and COVID-19 cases have fallen give us real cause for optimism.

"We are confident of being able to build back the business rapidly and profitably, and are optimistic about the medium-term prospects for Greencore.”