The A2 Milk Company chief executive officer Jayne Hrdlicka has stepped down after only 18 months in the role.
She is succeeded by former A2 Milk managing director Geoffrey Babidge on an interim basis while the company searches for a permanent replacement.
Hrdlicka said she had not anticipated the amount of travel involved when she took up the role.
Commenting on the announcement, A2 Milk chairman David Hearn said: “The board wishes to thank Jayne for the important contribution she has made to the company and remains confident that the strategic course of the business, which was recently communicated at the annual meeting, will continue to deliver strong rewards to all shareholders in the future.”
Hrdlicka added: “The A2 Milk Company is an extraordinary business and I joined the company excited about the opportunity to help define its full potential and deliver against it. Board and management have worked closely together to chart the future and it is no doubt bright and we are well advanced in executing it. I am delighted with how much progress has been made, the momentum underway in executing the strategy and the strength of the current leadership team.
“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.
“The board and I agreed that 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.”
A2 Milk has also announced that Jesse Wu, the company’s China-based non-executive director, will assume a direct oversight role of the A2 China business.
The news comes less than three months after A2 Milk announced its chief financial officer Craig Louttit would step down from his role, to be replaced by Race Strauss.
In its most recent annual results, A2 Milk reported a 41.4% rise in revenue compared to the previous year as it benefitted from strong results in China.
The company said its results were underpinned by growing brand awareness, expanding product distribution and strengthening in-market execution in Greater China and the US.
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