Jayne Hrdlicka, a former CEO of the Jetstar, has been appointed CEO of infant formula maker a2 Milk whose sales have been booming in China.
She takes over at the start of the 2019 financial year from Geoffrey Babidge who is retiring after 10 years in the role.
Hrdlicka said: “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.”
In August this year Hrdlicka was moved from CEO of Jetstar, a role she held for five years, to head of Qantas Loyalty and Digital Ventures.
She has also been a director of Woolworths and a partner at Bain & Company in the US, where she was focused on customer orientated businesses.
The Chairman of a2, David Hearn, said: “With her strong leadership and strategic capabilities, Jayne will be focused on continuing to build both the high performance of the business and the culture of the a2MC senior leadership team to support the company’s growth strategy across a broader nutritional products platform in both its established and new markets.”
Hearn says the company has achieved unprecedented growth during Babidge’s time as CEO.
“We are therefore particularly pleased that Geoff has agreed to remain available to the Company until the end of next year as an advisor to Jayne and the Board as required to ensure a smooth handover and transition,” Hearn says.
a2 last month reported a 68.9% rise in revenue to $NZ262.2 million ($A236 million) for the first four months of the year compared to the same period last year.
The company has been expanding distribution in China, with 65 distributors displaying a2 products in 5,800 stores.
Changes in regulations last year hit producers of infant formula, including Tasmania-based Bellamy’s, stalling sales in China. All infant formula brands must be registered by January 2018.
a2 has won China Food and Drug Administration registration for its China label infant formula.
The company plans increased marketing with a new advertising campaign this month within a key China region.
a2 also recently launched Australian fresh milk into Singapore.