The food industry veteran who led a strategic review into resolving Bubs Australia's (ASX: BUB) woes has today been appointed CEO of the embattled infant formula company, just a month after the incumbent board survived a board spill spearheaded by founding executives.
Having been appointed to the board as a non-executive director in April on the same day that former chair Dennis Lin was ousted and replaced by director Katrina Rathie, Reg Weine has been with Bubs during one of the most tumultuous moments in its history as it seeks to overcome debilitating performance in China.
In the strategic review he penned in July, Weine said Bubs needed to cut cost, clutter and trying to be 'all things to all people', whilst advocating for a stronger focus on the US market, a China 'reset', better utilising Bubs' manufacturing facility in Deloraine, Victoria, and playing to the company's strengths in goat's milk.
Today he takes on the CEO job with immediate effect.
"Reg is an experienced, high calibre executive with over 25 years in the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) and agri-food sectors and over 15 years in international markets and trade," says Bubs chair Katrina Rathie.
"Reg was previously managing director of SPC Ardmona (Coca-Cola Amatil), CEO of Australia’s largest privately-owned dairy business – Bulla Dairy Foods, and director of dales and international at Blackmores Limited.
"With his strong commercial, FMCG, dairy and international markets expertise, he is the right leader to drive Bubs’ strategy forward in Australia, USA, China, and international markets."
Rathie adds that, most importantly, the new CEO has previously led growth companies and is a 'measured, hard-working executive' who is trusted by the board to act in the best interests of the company and shareholders.
"I look forward to working with Reg and we are optimistic about Bubs Australia’s future under his leadership," she says.
Weine, who is currently chairman of the board at grower organisation Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL), Otway Pork and Maggie Beer Holdings (ASX: MBH), acknowledges the importance of being appointed to lead such a well-respected brand.
"Bubs is a brand and a company with significant potential, but I fully understand the challenges that face us in the short to medium term," he says.
"As the architect of the recent strategic review of the business, I will be pursuing the five-point plan to arrest the decline in shareholder value and get Bubs back on its feet."
As a result of the appointment, interim CEO Richard Paine will resume his role as chief operating officer.
Bubs reported a 59 per cent year-on-year decline in revenue in the fourth quarter of FY23 at $20 million, although this was up 27 per cent on the previous quarter. Around a quarter of that figure came from Australia, $11.8 million was from the US (up 45 per cent), and $1.4 million was from China, down 96 per cent year-on-year.
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