Turners and Growers boss Hipkins leaves after firm played down exit rumour

Turners & Growers chief executive Geoff Hipkins has left the fruit marketer immediately, just one week after the company played down speculation his departure was imminent.

Hipkins’ exit is effective immediately, and T&G will be led by chief financial officer Harald Hamster-Egerer and general manager of international markets Alastair Hulbert while it looks for a new boss, the company said in a statement.

The departure comes a week after chairman Sir John Anderson said Hipkins was still chief executive and any change in the future would be announced to the market.

Sir John’s statement was issued in response to reports in the National Business Review and Fruitnet that Hipkins was on the outer after a breakdown in his working relationship with the group’s senior management.

The shares fell 0.7 percent to $1.54, and have shed 6.1 percent this year.

Germany-based BayWa Aktiengesellschaft bought former major shareholder Guinness Peat Group’s 63.5 percent of Turners in 2011 and has since lifted its stake to 73.1 percent.

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