Fonterra has confirmed the appointment of a new general manager at Beingmate Baby & Child and says it signals an important step in the company’s much-needed transformation.
Beingmate announced yesterday it has hired Bao Xiufei, a former sales executive at Royal FrieslandCampina China, to head the company under new chairman and company founder Xie Hong.
News of his appointment had already been leaked to the media.
Fonterra’s outgoing chief executive Theo Spierings says Mr Bao’s key tasks will be to unlock Beingmate’s distribution network and take the right actions to meet Chinese customers’ preferences for e-commerce.
“There are a number of opportunities to reverse Beingmate’s current performance and we look forward to working with Mr Bao and seeing Beingmate fulfil its potential,” Mr Spierings says.
Fonterra sees China as an important, strategic dairy market but, while the region delivered $3.4 billion in sales revenue last year for Fonterra last year, its joint venture partnership with Beingmate has been a disaster.
Fonterra paid $755 million for an 18.8% stake but has been forced to write down more than $433m on the investment due to Beingmate’s poor performance.
One of the key benefits touted for the acquisition was greater distribution of key Fonterra brands through Beingmate channels in China but this has remained elusive.
Mr Bao’s previous roles include sales director at Wyeth Nutrition and senior positions at PepsiCo and the Wahaha Food Group.
He does not own any shares in Beingmate.
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