CEO and managing director of Murray River Organics Group (MRG) Valentina Tripp has resigned, with CFO Birol Akdogan appointed acting CEO. Tripp said she is taking time out with her family and developing her non-executive career.
Tripp was CEO for almost three years and oversaw the restructuring and growth strategy of the business. She said she was “immensely proud” of her time at the company. “We have achieved a lot over the last three years whilst navigating some uncertain external shocks and legacy issues. I am pleased to see our farm portfolio now aligned to our core business model, the launch of our organic Ingredients business and new retail brands and products, and the growth of our export business,” Tripp said.
MRG chair Andrew Monk said: “The Board recognises the work Val has put towards building and developing a highly capable team of people, overseeing the restructure, recapitalisation and strategic re-positioning of the company as a leading organic FMCG business enabling MRG to accelerate the benefits from its core assets and new MRO retail brand.
“The company is now positioned as a diversified FMCG organic and ‘better-for-you’ food company. Having significantly reduced its risk profile through its asset realisation program and resultant smaller farming operations, MRG has maintained its strengths as an agile, vertically integrated food producer. It has continued to strengthen its diverse global supply chains to enable it to accelerate its future growth.”
Tripp said the growth of organics and MRG’s future are strong. “After three big years, I have decided to take some time out with my family and will be seeking to develop my non-executive career and other opportunities. I want to thank the Board and shareholders for their support. I appreciate their commitment to investing in the emerging organics market. The future is organic.”
Tripp joined MRG in April 2018 when it was suffering heavy financial losses, had its CEO resign and his replacement only last 6 months. It had listed on the ASX in 2017. Her extensive experience in turnarounds, FMCG and agribusiness at Top Cut, Simplot and KPMG put her in good stead to lead the troubled company.
During her tenure MRG:
- was granted authority to grow low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis on its certified organic Nangiloc property;
- signed a new $6.5 million export partnership in China, increased export by 27 per cent and doubled its sales in China;
- released new retail products include coconut oils, breakfast cereals, pantry staples, and confectionery; and
- secured major contracts with supermarket retailers worth more than $20 million.
Akdogan joined MRG in September 2020. Tripp will help with his transition over the next three months.