June 25, 2018 / 11:46 PM / 24 days ago

New Zealand's Synlait Milk appoints Leon Clement as CEO

(Reuters) - New Zealand’s Synlait Milk (SML.NZ) on Tuesday said external candidate Leon Clement will assume the role of chief executive officer from mid-August.

Clement, the managing director of Fonterra Brands New Zealand, will replace incumbent John Penno who announced his departure in November last year.

The change in CEO comes amid the recent decline in the dairy company’s share price. The company had raised its base forecast milk price earlier this month, which could result in higher input costs for dairy product makers such as Synlait and a2 Milk Co (ATM.NZ).

Synlait provides a2 Milk with products for its largest markets based in Australia, New Zealand and China. The company’s stock took a hit when a2 Milk, its branding partner, signed a supply deal with the world’s biggest dairy producer, Fonterra (FCG.NZ) (FSF.NZ) in February.

However, Synlait’s share prices recovered after it reported record first-half net profit, buoyed by booming Chinese demand for infant formula from a2 Milk, and posted upbeat forecast.

The dairy producer’s stock on Tuesday dropped as much as 2.2 percent.

Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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