By Ian Neubauer
Foster’s Group outgoing CEO, Trevor O’Hoy, has hit back at commentators who said he was forced to resign, claiming his resignation was voluntary.
"I don’t think any time in my career I’ve done anything that I did not believe was in the best interests of Foster’s shareholders,” O’Hoy told the Sun Herald. “I want you to know that I resigned. It was my choice."
O’Hoy, who began working at Foster’s in 1975 and stewarded the company since 2004, offered his resignation to the board on Monday as a result of continuing disappointing performance caused by a maelstrom of factors.
These include macroeconomic pressures that are beyond the company’s control, such as the stellar rise of the Australian dollar, as well as management misteps, such as the revelation that Foster’s paid too much for wine assets acquired under O’Hoy’s reign.
Foster’s chairman David Crawford said last week O’Hoy had served with distinction but that as CEO he accepts responsibility for the company’s financial predicament.
Analysts are currently speculating Foster’s is likely to split into two separate entities in coming months — one for wine and another for beer. But a less fortuitous scenario would see the liquidation of the company’s under-performing wine assets at firesale prices.
Foster’s shares have climbed and snaked single-digit percentage points over the past seven days. At 3:00pm today they were trading at $5.37 — two cents down from their value prior to last week’s shock announcement.
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