Hain Celestial Looking for a CEO

June 25, 2018
Natural/organic company announces 'succession plan' to replace founder Irwin Simon.

Hain Celestial Group Inc. today (June 25) announced "a chief executive officer succession plan," aiming to replace founder Irwin Simon as president/CEO and have him transition into the role of non-executive chairman.

The news comes as rumors persist about a potential sale or breakup of the diverse natural/organic company, which has been underperforming of late and is now 10 percent controlled by an investment firm. It's also in the process of selling its Hain Pure Protein poultry operations, which should be complete by year-end.

Accounting problems forced it to not report figures from mid-2016 to mid-2017, and Hain was de-listed by Nasdaq. But the company has been rebuilding its finances and organization since, having named a new CFO in the midst of the de-listing and a CEO for North America (Gary Tickle).

Shares of Hain Celestial hit a five-year low May 8 after the company cut its full-year forecast. The company went public at $1.50 a share in January 1994, hit $67.98 in July 2015, but has been trading below $30 since April.

At the three-quarters mark (ending March 31), overall sales were up 5.6 percent to $1.8 billion. A persistent 1 percent decrease in U.S. sales was more than offset by a 10 percent increase in foreign sales. Adjusted operating income fell to $90 million from $109 million in the year-earlier period.

Engaged Capital, which holds a 9.9 percent stake, last October placed its founder, Glenn Welling, on the Hain board and reportedly has been pressuring the company to sell off business or be acquired.

"The Board of Directors is committed to conducting a thorough and comprehensive search to identify the best person to serve as the Company's next President and Chief Executive Officer," said Andrew Heyer, lead director. "In addition, the working group previously established by our Board of Directors to consider strategic alternatives for the Company continues to aggressively evaluate its portfolio of businesses, brands and operating strategy to further enhance shareholder value."

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