Wimm-Bill-Dann chief steps down, what next after PepsiCo deal?

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Wimm-Bill-Dann CEO Tony Maher is leaving the Russian company after five years at the top
Wimm-Bill-Dann CEO Tony Maher is leaving the Russian company after five years at the top

Related tags: Time, Future

The CEO of Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods has decided to step down following the successful sale of the Russian business to PepsiCo.

Tony Maher will leave the post on May 1 after five years that he described as “some of the most exciting and satisfying” ​of his career. Previous to joining Wimm-Bill-Dann, Mahler had worked for over 30 years in senior positions across Europe in the Coca-Cola group.

Mahler said: “I was lucky to have had a rare professional opportunity to shape the future of one of Russia’s most advanced companies and have a strong influence on the overall development of the Russian consumer market.”

Growth under Maher

During his time at the helm, Wimm-Bill-Dann has grown from a company with a market cap of $1bn to one with a value of nearly $6bn.

Sergey Plastinin, chairman of the board of directors, congratulated Mahler on his work.

Plastinin said: “He streamlined the company, recruited top Russian and international management talent, concentrated resources on winning brands and opened up a whole new market segment with our Zdraivery umbrella brand for kids – all in a very short period of time and in the face of very challenging market conditions.”

Now that Wimm-Bill-Dann has been taken over by PepsiCo, Maher has decided to move on, leaving temporary uncertainty at the top of the company.

Natalia Belyavskaya, senior investor relations manager, told DairyReporter.com: “We will know the top-level structure and how the company will be organized after Tony’s departure somewhere in the beginning of March.”

Main tasks ahead

Belyavskaya summarised the main tasks for the near future at Wimm-Bill-Dann as:

  • “Integration of our beverage businesses in Russia and CIS (PepsiCo Russia, including Lebedyansky they acquired in 2008, and WBD Beverages), while strengthening our market leadership.
  • Keeping focus on being number one company in dairy and baby food in Russia, and combining our R&D technologies to launch more innovations in foods.
  • Functional integration of PepsiCo core processes, like finance, HR, purchase, IT etc., as well as cultural integration (which, probably, is the most important) adopting PepsiCo’s values and keeping and developing the most talented people from WBD.”

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