Arla Foods announces departure of UK Managing Director Ash Amirahmadi, who is leaving to become CEO of Sofina Foods Europe; Amirahmadi to be replaced by Bas Padberg, who is currently VP of Arla Foods Southeast Asia

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June 8, 2023 (press release) –

Leading European dairy cooperative and Britain's biggest dairy company Arla Foods has announced the departure of its UK Managing Director, Ash Amirahmadi, who is leaving to become CEO of Sofina Foods Europe. He will be replaced by Bas Padberg, who is currently VP of Arla Foods Southeast Asia.

Ash Amirahmadi will leave on 31 July 2023. He joined Arla Foods in 2004 from Unilever and has held a number of leading roles across the organisation. He was appointed Managing Director of Arla UK in 2018 and under his leadership the company has since then continued the positive growth journey of Arla's biggest market as it grew into a EUR 3 billion business through significantly improved sales of beloved dairy brands like Arla Cravendale®, Arla Protein®, Lurpak®, Anchor® and Starbucks® chilled drinks.

Commenting on the announcement, Executive Vice President for Europe, Peter Giørtz-Carlsen, said:

"Ash has been an integral profile and leader in our UK business for almost two decades, and we are sad to see him go. I want to thank him for his service to Arla and our farmers during his five years as Head of Arla UK. He has led our UK business and organisation through a period with many disruptions like Brexit, the pandemic and inflation in recent years, and has established Arla as a leader within sustainability in the UK food industry. Perhaps his greatest achievement is that he leaves behind a strong team and a talented organisation who has been part of creating a leading food business, so the future is bright for Arla in the UK. Our strategy is a winning one and I have confidence in the next generation of leaders to steer Arla through the next chapters of our UK story. We wish Ash all the best in his new job."

Commenting on the announcement, Ash Amirahmadi said:

"It’s been a difficult decision to leave Arla after a joyful 20 years. I complete my time both with a sense of sadness and pride. I will miss our farmers, our people and the deep friendships I have developed. It is people, relationships, and values that make organisations special, and the cooperation between our farmers and our colleagues gives us the unique culture of Arla. For me, the Sofina role is a big one and a different challenge which is what I now need in my career. I am and will always be grateful to have been part of Arla."

Successor to start in January 2024

Following a rigorous process an internal successor has been identified in Bas Padberg, who currently serves as VP of Southeast Asia. Bas Padberg joined Arla in 2014 from Royal Friesland Campina to become Managing Director of Arla's business in the Netherlands, Belgium and France, which he turned into the fastest growing branded market in Arla Europe.

"I am delighted that Bas has accepted the opportunity to lead our skilled and engaged UK organisation, because he is a highly-trusted leader in Arla with a long track-record of building and sustaining a strong people-focused culture. He is very experienced in creating value between our farmers and our strategic customers from his time in charge of our Dutch, Belgian and French business. I want to congratulate Bas on his appointment and am looking forward to working with him on delivering the exciting long-term strategy for our UK business," Peter Giørtz-Carlsen said.

Padberg will take up his new role on 1 January 2024. In the interim period until he joins, EVP of Europe Peter Giørtz-Carlsen will maintain the executive leadership of Arla’s UK business in close collaboration with the strong UK leadership team of Arla UK.

[Category: Household Durables, Paper/Forest Products, Dairy Farming, Food & Beverages, Specialty Retail, Food & Staples Retailing, Management Changes]

Source: Arla Foods

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