Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods OJSC [NYSE: WBD] today announced that its Chief Executive Officer, Tony Maher, will step down as Chief Executive of the company effective May 1, 2011. His decision to leave the company follows the successful conclusion of the landmark transaction between Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods and PepsiCo. An announcement on Mr Maher's successor will be made in the coming weeks. Tony Maher commented: “The last five years as Chief Executive of Wimm-Bill-Dann have been some of the most exciting and satisfying of my career. I am pleased that I have accomplished almost everything I set out to do when I joined the company. I was lucky to have had a rare professional opportunity to shape the future of one of Russia's most advanced companies and have a strong influence on the overall development of the Russian consumer market. My focus has always been to develop the company, its people and its products for the long-term. I have had the privilege of working with a fantastic team of people on every level of the company. Now I really believe Wimm-Bill-Dann and its remarkable people have a great future ahead as part of a more global organization.” Sergey Plastinin, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Wimm-Bill-Dann, said: “On behalf of the board of directors and Wimm-Bill-Dann’s founders I want to thank Tony for a job well done and for delivering on his promise to create long-term shareholder value. When he first joined us, our market cap was just over US$1 billion and less than five years later the company was valued at nearly US$6 billion. He streamlined the company, recruited top Russian and international management talent, concentrated resources on winning brands and opened up a whole new market segment with our Zdraivery umbrella brand for kids – all in a very short period of time and in the face of very challenging market conditions. He enhanced our leadership in dairy and baby food and led a brilliant recovery in our juice business. Throughout, he stuck to Wimm-Bill-Dann’s core principles of entrepreneurship, transparency and an open corporate culture and he will go down in history for leading Wimm-Bill-Dann to join PepsiCo in one of the most significant deals for modern Russia. We truly wish Tony every success in the future.”
Wimm Bill Dann Foods (NYSE:WBD) hit a new 52-week high Friday as it is currently trading at $35.18, above its previous 52-week high of $35.10 with 16,182 shares traded as of 1:52 p.m. ET. Average volume has been 216,400 shares over the past 30 days.