Business – Tetley FD leaves after strategy dispute

Roger Price, group finance director of Tetley, the world’s second-largest teabag maker, has resigned following a dispute with shareholders over the company’s business strategy.

Price, who joined the company in 1995, was keen to promote Tetley as a worldwide brand – an ambition shared by Leon Allen, the executive chairman and chief executive, who also resigned last week.

This strategy clashed, however, with the two main shareholders which wanted to focus on core markets in the UK, Canada, and Australia.

The main institutional investors – Schroeders and PPMV – indicated that they favoured working with Price and Allen in ‘identifying future opportunities’. They are expected to focus on future buy-outs but have retained their holdings in the companies.

Price joined the Tetley Group in 1995, when he helped lead its #180m buy-in from Allied Domecq, the pubs and drink group. A specialist in the food and drink sector, he has been FD for Smiths Crisps and Nabisco’s UK grocery division.

The company – which made a profit of #41.1m, before exceptional items, on a turnover of #336m – is now considering its options. Price’s present duties and responsibilities have been handed over to other members of the management team and it is expected to announce new board appointments shortly.

Tetley pulled out of a public flotation last year after analysts valued the company at #400m – a sum which failed to meet boardroom expectations.

Tetley still intends to go public within the next two years.

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