After a lifetime of building Costa Group (ASX: CGC) into the company it is today Frank Costa is stepping down from his position as a non-executive director.
He will continue to retain his involvement with the company as an advisor to the board, whilst the Costa family still holds a significant share of the company.
The produce business was transformed into a powerhouse company by Frank and his brother Adrian when their father sold the business to them in 1959.
In more recent years, after stepping back from an executive role in the company, Frank contributed during the private equity phase and his role as a non-executive since 2015 when the company went public.
The 81-year-old Frank says his work with the Costa Group has seen the company grow into a leader in the industry.
"I have been delighted with the growth and quality of the business as it has become the country's leading horticultural group which continues to set new standards in technology and sustainability across its portfolio," says Frank.
"Now is the right time for me to step back from a formal engagement whilst retaining an active involvement in the company's future progress as an advisor to the board."
The chair of Costa Group Neil Chatfield says Frank has been an invaluable asset to the company as it has chartered the new waters of the ASX.
"On behalf of the board, I want to sincerely thank Frank for his invaluable contribution to the board and we are delighted that Frank has accepted a role as advisor to the board. We are grateful that he is prepared to continue to devote his time to provide ongoing support and guidance to the company," says Chatfield.
Costa Group began as a produce grocery in 1888 in Geelong, which has gradually transformed as it has been passed down through family hands.
In the 1920s the business was run inherited by Frank's father, who eventually sold it to him when Frank was just 21.
Frank then pivoted the business into wholesale, building it up into Australia's leading produce business.
In 2019 the company has been beset by a number of major problems, notably in the berry, tomato and avocado worlds.
The grower, packer and marketer of Australian fruit and veg announced in January that sales in tomatoes, berries and avocados dipped during December 2018.
The company said trading conditions were tough, blaming the citrus 'off season' finishing earlier than expected.
This led to the company delivering an $8.5 million underlying NPAT between January and June 2019 which was blamed on an 'off year' citrus crop.
"In the last six months we have experienced an unprecedented level of volatility across virtually all of our categories and seen our earnings negatively impacted," said Chatfield in May 2019 at the group's AGM.
"The board is intensely focused on ensuring that long term fundamentals continue to be strengthened and that the company retains its competitive advantage in the face of any future trading volatility."
Shares in Costa Group are down 0.97 per cent to $4.09 per share at 11.24am AEST.
Business News Australia
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