Ex-Saga and Co-op chief Sutherland to lead AG Barr

Euan Sutherland: new CEO

Irn-Bru manufacturer AG Barr has appointed former Saga boss Euan Sutherland as chief executive to replace long-serving Roger White who is retiring.

Mr Sutherland, who takes up the post on 1 May, has worked for a number of top consumer-facing businesses.

He has been CEO of Superdry and the Co-op Group and was chief operating office at B&Q owner Kingfisher.

His experience includes fast-moving consumer goods brands Mars and Coca-Cola, as well as eight years on the board of Britvic as a non-executive director.  

As announced in August last year, Mr White will step down from the board at the end of April and will remain available until the end of July to support a smooth leadership transition.

Mark Allen, chairman of AG Barr, commented “It has been a great pleasure working with Roger, who has successfully led the business for over two decades and delivered significant value to shareholders, stakeholders and employees.”

He said Mr Sutherland was “well placed to lead AG Barr through the next exciting phase of its development and to ensure the continued long term success of the business.”

Mr Sutherland commented “I am very excited to join AG Barr, which has a unique heritage, strong culture and exceptional brands. I look forward to working with the Board and the wider business to continue to deliver significant value to shareholders, stakeholders and employees for the long term.”

The announcement came alongside a trading update showing that revenue is expected to be c.£400m, representing c.26% year-on-year growth and c.7.6% on a like-for-like basis, excluding the contribution from the Boost Drinks business acquired in December 2022. 

Roger White and Irn-Bru
Roger White: retiring

Adjusted profit before tax is now expected to be c.£49.5m, up 13.8% on the prior year (2022/23: £43.5m) and slightly ahead of previous market expectations.

Mr White said: “All our teams across the group have worked hard to deliver an excellent overall performance. 

“This has been supported by continued brand investment, strong execution of our sales plans and progress across our supply chain improvement programme.  We have positive momentum behind our brands and business as we enter the new financial year.

“This strong trading performance, coupled with the benefits already being delivered by our margin rebuild programme, has ensured we close the year with a strong profit performance and confidence in the Group’s long-term growth strategy.”

Speaking to Daily Business, he said he had still not determined his next move but would be turning his attention to it after the group’s results in March.

“Over the next few weeks I wil have to start having conversations with people,” he said, acknowledging that he has received some approaches.

He said the company had “tried to navigate its way” through inflation and other cost pressures and had taken a hit to margins to protect customers. However, it was set for long term growth and had a strong stable of brands.

AG Barr will publish its full-year results on 26 March. Shares in the company closed yesterday 6p higher at 574p.

Market reaction

John Moore, senior investment manager at RBC Brewin Dolphin, said: “AG Barr has delivered another strong sales update, with group revenues expected to increase by more than one-quarter on last year – excluding the contribution of Boost Drinks.

“Profits are also up nearly 14%, beating market expectations and helped in part by lower cost inflation. Previous acquisitions are beginning to feed into the bottom line and make a positive contribution to the group, with Moma delivering double-digit sales growth.

“The appointment of a new CEO provides some clarity for the future too. AG Barr has proven its operational resilience in recent years and, with a strong balance sheet and accelerating growth, it looks well positioned going into 2024/2025.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked as *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.