A2 Milk appoints new chief executive

A2 Milk is the country's second most valuable listed company.
A2 Milk is the country's second most valuable listed company. Photo credit: File / Getty

Specialty dairy company A2 Milk has a new chief executive.

David Bortolussi will replace interim chief executive Geoffrey Babidge in early 2021 and will be based in Sydney.

He joins the company from clothing firm, HanesBrands, where he was group president.

Bortolussi said he was keen to keep driving the A2's strong growth.

"The team at A2 has created a very distinctive consumer proposition, amazing brand and strong culture with so much potential."

A2 Milk chair David Hearn said Bortolussi came with "a strong kitbag of experience" even though on the surface clothing and food production were different industries.

"David has demonstrated significant skill in guiding businesses through periods of significant growth whilst also effectively managing the changes that expansion frequently requires."

Hearn said Bortolussi had concentrated at Hanes on building up the value of the brands, which was an important factor for A2 Milk.

Bortolussi will be paid $AU1.75 million a year along with performance-related bonuses.

A2 Milk was criticised for the handling of the appointment and subsequent abrupt departure of former chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka at the end of last year, after barely 18 months in the job, citing the demands of travel on her private life.

Hrdlicka raised controversy when she sold more than $4m worth of shares just two months after starting the job, which a shareholders' group said was "a bad look".

Hearn said the board had imposed conditions on Bortolussi's ownership and disposal of shares to avoid a repeat of the situation involving Hrdlicka, which he accepted had been the board's fault.

A2 Milk is the country's second most valuable listed company. Its shareprice rose 1 percent on the Bortolussi announcement.