Swiss dairy major Emmi as seen the departure of finance chief Sacha Gerber less than 18 months since becoming CFO.

Emmi said Gerber decided to leave the Lucerne-based business for “personal reasons” and has been let go with immediate effect “due to the sensitive nature of the role”.

Gerber’s appointment was announced in September 2022 before he took on the job on 1 January 2023.

He replaced former CFO Ricarda Demarmels, who was elevated up the ranks to CEO of the publicly-listed group from the start of last year. In turn, Demarmels succeeded Urs Riedener when the latter became chairman.

Gerber’s replacement has been named as Oliver Wasem, who has served as deputy CFO of the Le Petit Chevrier cheese and Benecol dairy drinks maker since 2013.

Wasem’s other roles at Emmi include president of the company’s pension fund and head of investor relations. Before joining the business in 2013, he worked at Forbo Gruppe, PwC and Arthur Andersen.

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CEO Demarmels said in a statement: “Oliver Wasem’s many years of extensive leadership experience in finance, including ten years with the Emmi Group, and his commitment to the company, make him the ideal candidate for the position of CFO.
“I am very much looking forward to continuing our collaboration.”

There was no departing message from Gerber, although Emmi said it regretted his decision to leave, thanking him for “his dedicated service and valuable contribution to the success of the Emmi Group”.

After Gerber joined Emmi, the group offloaded a business in Germany but acquired a majority interest in another in Brazil.

Last summer, Gläserne Molkerei, a Germany-based regional organic dairy producer, was sold to Munich-headquartered private-equity firm Mutares.

Early this year, Emmi took a majority stake in Brazil-based yogurts and shakes business Verde Campo from The Coca-Cola Co.

Earlier this week, the company announced a deal to acquire Switzerland-based coffee roaster Hochstrasser.

Emmi operates across four business segments: Switzerland, the Americas, Europe and global.

The Americas takes in the US and Canada, Brazil, Spain, Chile, Tunisia and Mexico, while the global segment includes markets in Asia, Eastern Europe, South America and the Arabian peninsula.

Emmi’s next set of results, for the first half of 2024, are due for publication on 14 August.

The business generated sales last year of SFr4.24bn ($4.74bn), a 3.5% increase on an organic basis and 0.3% in reported terms.

EBITDA in the period to 31 December edged down 0.9% to SFr375.8m, while EBIT rose 2% to SFr258.2m.

Net profit climbed 2.1% to SFr186.3m.