SCHLIEREN, SWITZERLAND — Tyson Yu has been promoted to chief executive officer of Aryzta North America, part of a broader organizational makeover for the global food business with a position in specialty baking.
Mr. Yu, who is currently chief operations officer of Aryzta North America, succeeds Dave Johnson, who has been named non-executive chairman of Aryzta North America. Mr. Yu has been with Aryzta for nine years, most recently as c.o.o. since March 2018. Earlier, he was president and c.o.o. of Aryzta’s Canadian business unit and also spent time as senior vice-president of business development and vice-president of strategy and business transformation.
Before joining Aryzta he was director of planning and strategic initiatives at FSB Global Holdings, Inc. (Fresh Start Bakeries). He earlier was an associate at Lindsay Goldberg and an analyst at Merrill Lynch.
He received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from Georgetown University.
John Heffernan has been named president and chief commercial officer of North America, reporting to Mr. Yu. Mr. Heffernan has been with Aryzta since March 2018, most recently as group chief strategy officer. Prior to joining Aryzta he was chief development officer at daa plc, founder and c.e.o. of Clearpower and AER, acquisitions manager and development director at Boundary Capital Ltd., engagement manager at McKinsey & Co., trade marketing manager at Tomkins P.L.C., and business analyst at McKinsey & Co.
He received a bachelor’s degree in banking and finance from the University College Dublin, a master’s degree in international accounting and finance from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a master’s degree in business administration from INSEAD.
Both Mr. Yu and Mr. Heffernan will join Aryzta’s Group Executive Committee, effective Feb. 1.
Mr. Johnson moves on to his new role after serving two years as c.e.o. of Aryzta North America.
“I would like to thank Dave for his leadership and contribution in refocusing our North American business in the past two years, improving our customer focus, restructuring and reorganizing the region and successfully launching Project Renew,” Kevin Toland, c.e.o. of Aryzta, said. “I am pleased that he will continue to stay involved with the group. Tyson has significant experience in our business in various geographic, operational and functional roles in North America over the past decade. John has been deeply involved in the commercial, innovation and strategy development across the group. I wish them both every success in their new roles.”
The promotions of Mr. Yu and Mr. Heffernan follow the October 2019 additions of Christine Prociv and Tuan Nguyen to the Aryzta North America team. Ms. Prociv joined the company as vice-president of marketing and innovation, where she is responsible for leading the La Brea Bakery brand and overall innovation for Aryzta North America. Mr. Nguyen was named vice-president of procurement.
The changes to Aryzta’s leadership in North America come following a difficult 2019 in which revenues fell nearly 5%.
Simon Harvey, a food correspondent at GlobalData, a London-based data analytics and consulting company, weighed in on the organizational changes.
“Aryzta described the management changes for its North American division as a ‘planned organizational evolution,’ suggesting the company has moved on from the recent disposals of non-core assets across its key European operations to focus resources on driving revenue growth across the Atlantic,” Mr. Harvey said. “One suspects there will be further announcements to come pertaining to North America, most likely on how the business intends to deal with the rising competition from private label in the U.S., a segment that is not so well established there as it is in U.K. retail, but is fast gaining traction as consumers look for price savings over branded equivalents.
“Aryzta group c.e.o. Kevin Toland has not been shy in the past in highlighting his commitment to the North American market, despite urgings from some analysts to quit the region and concentrate attention on Europe. North America accounts for 41% of the €3.4 billion in group revenues and 32% of earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) — and Europe would unlikely be able to fill that gap, at least not in the short term.”
Mr. Harvey said the executive appointments may be the first step in Aryzta addressing revenue challenges in North America.
“However, to overcome the private label challenge, incoming divisional c.e.o. Yu will undoubtedly have to get ahead in innovation to win new business in North America within the constraints of the bakery category, with the free-from area the most obvious route,” Mr. Harvey said. “However, it seems like a tall order alone unless Toland is cooking up other groundbreaking ideas, and it’s perhaps too early for an acquisition in North America given Aryzta’s struggles of late.”