New boss steps in at Adcock

ADCOCK Ingram has appointed Kevin Wakeford as its chief executive with immediate effect‚ following the resignation of Jonathan Louw on Tuesday‚ the pharmaceutical company said in a regulatory announcement to the JSE yesterday afternoon.

The aim of the appointment is to turn around the fortunes of South Africa’s No 2 drugmaker.

Wakeford joins Adcock following more than 10 years’ experience with Bidvest‚ where he led various companies within the industrial conglomerate.

Bidvest owns 34.5% of Adcock and its chief executive, Brian Joffe‚ was recently appointed chairman of the struggling pharmaceutical group.

Wakeford‚ a chartered accountant‚ served as chief executive of Bidvest Travel and Aviation for the past three years. Prior to joining Bidvest‚ he spent nine years in the Southern Sun Hotel group and was previously group financial manager at SA Breweries.

“The board decided strong business skills are what is required to lead Adcock Ingram’s recovery and growth into the future‚” Joffe said.

“Kevin’s broad experience in a number of fields and his entrepreneurial spirit stand him in good stead to lead the company.”

Wakeford will be supported by Andy Hall‚ who will be continuing as deputy chief and financial director.

The appointment of Wakeford followed the widely expected resignation of Louw this week, whose leadership of the struggling firm had been criticised by top shareholder Bidvest Group.

Wakeford inherits a company that has underperformed both operationally and in the stock market, hit by over-reliance on the heavily regulated local drugs market and a poor distribution network.

Adcock’s share price has fallen 2.7% over the last two years, compared with a 41% rise in Johannesburg’s all-share index.

The shares of its closest rival, Aspen Pharmacare – the market leader by both revenue and market value – have more than doubled in the same period. – BDlive