On January 31, Devon Ambrosia’s custard factory embattled chief executive Gavin Darby will step down as plans to sell the company begin. This much has been revealed by Premier Foods, owners of Devon Ambrosia.
Mr Darby’s departure will end a six-year tenure at the group and comes after a public row with activist investor Oasis Management, which claimed he has presided over years of value degradation.
At Premier’s annual general meeting in July, 41% of investors voted against Mr Darby’s re-election at the Premier.
Devon Ambrosia is being sold because the board wants to focus resources on business areas with the best growth potential.
The company’s half-year results showed pre-tax losses widened to £2.2 million in the months to September 29. There was also investor discontent over Premier’s recent decision not to sell its fast-growing Batchelors brand.
100-year-old Ambrosia is famous for its Devon Custard and Rice Pudding. Devon Custard was a subsidiary, launched by Ambrosia which was made using canning lines in Lifton.
It was the pioneer company to make creamed rice pudding ready in a tin. Following the brand’s investment in canning technology in the 1970s, the company became the brand leader in ‘ready-to-serve’ custard.
Ambrosia raced to become a brand leader by using local milk in its products.
Since Ambrosia’s 50th anniversary, it has introduced new methods and technology to give its product a longer shelf life.
Ambrosia has also launched Ambrosia Deluxe Custard as well as Ambrosia Frozen Custard which marks its foray into the market for frozen desserts.