By Gavin Evans
March 25 (BusinessDesk) - A2 Milk Co has appointed Li Xiao as chief executive of its greater China operations.
Li was previously president of the Kids Entertainment Division of Wanda Group, a Chinese multinational which owns the Hoyts cinema group. He starts in the A2 Milk role at the end of April, based in Shanghai, and will join A2’s senior leadership team. He will report to the firm’s Asia-Pacific chief executive Peter Nathan and managing director Jayne Hrdlicka.
China is the biggest end-market for A2’s infant milk powder and its fastest-growing region. A2 accounted for almost 6 percent of the market in major Chinese centres last year and its China label revenue in the six months through December was almost 83 percent higher than a year earlier.
Hrdlicka described Li, whose previous roles included chief executive of Burger King China, as an entrepreneurial and accomplished executive with a background in traditional businesses and local “fast-growth” consumer-driven brands including Nike and Mars.
“Li Xiao brings with him a deep and long track record of excellent business results achieved by finding innovative pathways to building businesses across multiple consumer categories in China,” she said in a statement.
His initial focus will be on delivering the company’s existing well-developed strategy and preparing for future growth opportunities, she said.
Li is replacing Michael Bracka, who left the business in December and previously led the China business in his role as head of business development in emerging markets.
In January, Hrdlicka named Melanie Kansil as chief commercial officer. She joined the company the following month and has direct responsibility for emerging markets and the UK.
A2 Milk shares fell 0.9 percent to $13.68, matching a similar decline on the S&P/NZX 50 Index this morning.