By James Wells
Speculation around the takeover of Foster’s Group by a consortium including Coca-Cola Amatil and SABMiller grew yesterday with the appointment of NAB’s Michael Ullmer to the board as shares soared by five per cent.
The rumours regarding a takeover follow the recent profit downgrade, resignation of CEO Trevor O’Hoy and an announcement that Foster’s is undertaking a review of its business which may include a demerger.
The appointment of Ullmer to the board follows the arrival of former Diageo North America chief executive Paul Clinton who joined the business on 25 March to improve understanding of overseas markets.
Ullmer will join the board of directors as an independent director next Tuesday.
Since 2004, Ullmer has been an executive director of the National Australia Bank (NAB). He is a former chief financial officer of NAB and is now the bank’s deputy group chief financial officer playing a lead role in driving group strategy, developing key executive talent and progressing cultural change. Ullman is also a director of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
In a statement issued to the Australian Stock Exchange, Foster’s chairman David Crawford said Ullman brings to the Foster’s Board extensive strategic, financial and management experience accumulated over his career in international banking and finance.
“On behalf of shareholders, I am very pleased to welcome Michael to the Foster’s Board,” Crawford said in the statement.
“Michael’s 30 years of international strategy and finance experience and his strong people and culture focus, will be a real asset at the board table.”