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Conviviality dismisses financial turmoil as ‘short-term challenge'

Published:  20 March, 2018

Conviviality chairman David Adams, who today stepped into the position of executive chairman following Diana Hunter’s resignation yesterday, has set out to reassure the industry of the company's future.

As the search for a new CEO begins, Adams said Conviviality was a “profitable business, with the very best route to market in the UK”.

“Our suppliers, franchisees, producers and customers know this. We’re very grateful to have so many people across the industry stand by our side and rally around us as we overcome this short-term challenge,” he said.

Conviviality had, he added, been heartened by the support and would continue to “talk openly to everyone we’re working with – these are relationships we intend to have for years to come”.

Following Hunter’s resignation, the current leadership team of James Lousada (commercial director), Mark Moran (CFO), David Robinson (MD retail), Steve Jebson (buying and insights director), Mark Riley (operations director) and Sarah Miles (people director) would continue to run the business on a day-to-day basis, with Jebson, Miles and Riley reporting to Lousada as in interim meassure, said the company.  

Thanking Hunter, who will remain with Conviviality for a period of time to offer transition support, Adams said: “We’d like to express our thanks to Diana for her vision, drive and market understanding that has created the Conviviality we are today, with it’s clear route to market strategy for our suppliers and customers.”

Hunter stepping down followed a torrid few weeks for Conviviality, which first issued a profit warning earlier this month when it warned that its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation would be around 20% lower than expected because of an “arithmetic error” in its forecasts, as well as tougher trading and tighter margins.

It then issued a second profit warning last Tuesday, less than a week after the first one and on the day its shares were suspended when it admitted an unforeseen tax demand of £30 million.

Following the trading update, more than £300 million was wiped off Conviviality’s value.