Raisio chief resigns: ‘Time for new adventures’ after 36 quarters of continuous growth

By Shane STARLING contact

- Last updated on GMT

Raisio's Helsinki HQ is seeking a new leader. @Raisio
Raisio's Helsinki HQ is seeking a new leader. @Raisio
Raisio chief executive officer Matti Rihko tells us he is moving onto a new venture later this year and was proud to have overseen Raisio’s transition from a challenged regional player into a “profitable international brandhouse” in his 10 years at the top at the Finnish firm.

“I’ve had a good decade at Raiso seeing value triple for shareholders and nine years of quarterly growth and rising dividiends,” ​the 54-year-old said of theagro-ingredients-food player which turned over €521m in its last full year results (2015). EBITDA that year was €63.6m with a dividend of €0.16 per share. However sales dipped in the first nine months of 2016 from about €400m to €340m, with the pound devaluation hurting its British-based cereals business.

“10 years as CEO of a listed company is a long time - it is not usual. Now it is time for new adventures and I have an exciting opportunity ahead which I will announce in August.”

Rihko said while the announcement of his resignation was sudden, and its impact immediate, it was a decision “a long time in the making”.

Raisio said its Board of Directors “will begin immediately the search process for a new CEO” ​with Raisioagro managing director Jarmo Puputti​ stepping in to the breach in the meantime.

Cholesterol-lowering

benecol
@Benecol

Raisio debuted the plant stanol-based cholesterol-lowering Benecol brand 20 years ago and Rihko said despite the category being somewhat flat in recent years “the natural way of lowering cholesterol will continue to gain in popularity. Health and wellness will continue to become more important so Raisio is well positioned for that."

He said the firm’s leadership in ‘Nordic oats’ meant they may have a greater role, especially with an approved EU health claim​, as is possessed by plant stanols and sterols for cholesterol reduction​.

In addition to plant stanol-based brand Benecol, the firm has divisions devoted to cereals and snacks, confectionery, feed and crops.

“The Board of Directors wants to thank Matti Rihko for his ten years’ term and his excellent work for Raisio’s renovation and internationalisation," ​said Board chair Matti Perkonoja.

Below Rihko makes his last presentation of company results, in Q3 2016.

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