Synlait Milk (ASX:SM1) CEO resigns

Company News

by Melissa Darmawan

Chief executive officer of Synlait Milk (ASX:SM1) Leon Clement resigns after 2.5 years in role.

The company's former CEO, CO-founder and current director John Penno will step in as the interim CEO. Mr Clement will leave at the end of this month.

The board has acknowledged Mr Clement for his achievements and "recognises the substantial impact that COVID-19 has had on Synlait and the difficult challenge this would present to any management team".

The company is a supplier of infant formula to their strategic partner A2 Milk (ASX:A2M). The A2 Milk company experienced a challenging first half with net profit after tax down 35.1 per cent to $120 million. Covid-19 disrupted the company’s daigou and reseller channel restricting travel between here and China. 

Last month Synlait Milk withdrew its full year 2021 guidance due to the continuing significant uncertainty and volatility within its business. Their previous guidance update was released in December 2020 following a revised demand forecast from the A2 Milk company.

Synlait Milk's share price fell 72.5 per cent from $11.73 to $3.72 since Mr Clement has been in role.

Under his leadership, Mr Clement led the refresh of the company's strategy and purpose, the development of a new factory at Pokeno, south of Auckland, created a sustainability strategy, acquired Dairyworks and inked a manufacturing deal with a multinational group yet to be announced.

Synlait Chair Graeme Milne commented: “Leon has been an authentic and transformational leader. He has successfully repositioned Synlait’s purpose, ambition, and strategy to make us a more diversified and sustainable company. On behalf of the Board and all staff we wish Leon the very best in his future career and thank him for his energy and dedication to Synlait during his time with us.”

Synlait CEO Leon Clement commented: “It has been a privilege to lead Synlait. It has been an intensive period of change and growth and I am proud of our achievements. Synlait has an amazing team that is making a positive and sustainable impact in the areas we operate.”

Shares in Synlait Milk (ASX:SM1) closed 2.42 per cent lower at $3.22 on Friday.