Qantas executive Jayne Hrdlicka has made a surprise move to head up the New Zealand-founded a2 Milk Company.
She replaces Geoff Babidge who has been chief executive of the dual Australian and New Zealand-listed company since 2010.
“I am delighted to be joining the very talented and accomplished team at the a2 Milk Company as their new CEO. This is a strong and principled company with significant opportunity ahead and impressive momentum in each of its core markets,” Hrdlicka said in a statement.
Up to a month ago she was Jetstar chief executive for five years before moving to lead Qantas’ booming loyalty business.
During her time with Jetstar she also served as a non-executive director of Woolworths and in her earlier career Hrdlicka was a partner at Bain & Company in the United States, where she was focused on customer-orientated businesses.
Babidge said he would stay in the job until the end of the 2018 financial year.
Shares in a2 Milk Company have soared over the past year from $2.13 to $7.73.
The global snacking, international cereal and noodles, plant-based foods and North American frozen breakfast business will be known as Kellanova – home to brands such as Pringles, MorningStar Farms and Nutri-Grain. Kellanova’s portfolio will also encompass cereal brands, including Frosties, Special K, Krave and Coco Pops.
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