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Jayne Hrdlicka steps down as CEO of a2 Milk

Managing director and CEO of The a2 Milk Company has stepped down in the wake of increasing travel pressures.

Hrdlicka, who joined the business as chief executive in July 2018, said the role required more travel than she had anticipated when she joined and would make it too difficult to continue in the role alongside her other professional and personal commitments.

Former a2Milk CEO Geoffrey Babidge will act as interim CEO effective immediately as a global search for a new leader commences.

Hrdlicka called The a2 Milk Company an “extraordinary business” in a statement on Monday and said she joined, excited about the opportunity to help define its full potential.

“The reality however is that the next 3-5 years will continue to require the CEO being present in our core markets of China and the US and that combined with running a New Zealand company based in Australia required more travel than I had anticipated when I joined the company.

“This next phase is going to be too difficult to manage alongside my other commitments whilst also managing the health and wellness priorities of my family and me.”

Chairman David Hearn thanked Hrdlicka for her contribution to the company, which boosted its FY20 earnings margin outlook to between 29 per cent and 30 per cent last month. He said the current growth strategy has the backing of the board and will remain unchanged.

“The appointment of Geoffrey Babidge will ensure that the current strategies and plans endorsed by the Board will continue to be implemented seamlessly during the period of transition to a new CEO,” Hearn said.

China-based non-executive director Jesse Wu will assume a direct oversight role of the a2 business in China.

The company reaffirmed the improved earnings outlook amid anticipation of strong China and US sales campaigns.

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