Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - BreadTalk group CEO resigns for ‘personal and health reasons’

BreadTalk group CEO resigns for ‘personal and health reasons’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
BreadTalk CEO Henry Chu will leave the company with effect from Dec 31, 2019, for "personal and health reasons". DIN TAI FUNG/The Straits Times (Singapore)

BreadTalk group CEO resigns for ‘personal and health reasons’

Breadtalk group CEO Henry Chu has resigned for “personal and health reasons”, it was announced on Wednesday.

Chu, 49, will leave at the end of the year, with company founder and group executive chairman George Quek acting as interim CEO until a new one is appointed.

Quek, 62, said: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Mr Henry Chu for working tirelessly with the senior management team to maximise growth opportunities and successfully diversify our portfolio of brands in the last two and a half years.”

Chu has been overseeing the company’s global operations and will continue in this role during the transition period.

The company spokesman said Chu will take time off to rest after leaving the firm, as he has been “travelling extensively for work over the last couple of years and it has taken a toll on him”.

Quek noted that under Chu’s leadership, the food empire entered partnerships with notable brands such as Wu Pao Chun Bakery and Song Fa Bak Kut Teh, and expanded into new markets, including London and Cambodia.

Chu, who has more than 20 years of experience in food and beverage and retail in Singapore and the region, rejoined BreadTalk as group managing director in October 2016 before taking over as group CEO less than a year later. He had previously served as CEO of BreadTalk’s bakery division.

Before joining BreadTalk, he was director of operations at Delifrance and operations director with Starbucks in Thailand and China.

BreadTalk said it will look inside and outside the firm for a new CEO.

DBS analyst Alfie Yeo said there is unlikely to be significant changes to BreadTalk’s operations, as the company has a strong management and organisation set-up.

Yeo noted that Chu was involved in setting up BreadTalk’s 4orth division, which encompasses food concepts and both self-owned and franchised brands, including So Ramen.

Yeo said: “The 4orth division has yet to be profitable, but it is notable that the So Ramen brand itself is already operationally profitable.”

He added that BreadTalk’s earnings have been hit by a mix of weak bakery performance, particularly in China, and lower franchise income, as well as higher start-up costs on opening new outlets for the 4orth division and its Din Tai Fung outlet in London.

Yeo said weak bakery performance in China and start-up losses from the 4orth division will continue to take its toll on earnings this year.

Associate Professor Lawrence Loh of the National University of Singapore told the Straits Times that BreadTalk’s bakery division – which accounts for most of its business – has seen declining revenues over the last year, noting that there are a lot of competitors operating in the industry.

“In the traditional bakery space, consumers might be jaded by the company’s offerings,” Loh said.

“They [BreadTalk] could try to cater to changing tastes, and perhaps find new products that are more niche or creative.”

The BreadTalk empire has close to 1,000 outlets worldwide under an array of brands, including Toast Box, Food Republic and franchise partners like Din Tai Fung and Song Fa Bak Kut Teh.

Earlier this month, BreadTalk reported a fall in second-quarter net profit due to rising costs.

Earnings fell 57.9 per cent year on year to $1.02 million for the three months to June 30, despite a 9.8 per cent growth in revenue to $163.3 million.

MOST VIEWED

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • NA, Senate set for bill on ‘emergency’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested the Senate to convene an extraordinary meeting to review the draft law that aims to put the Kingdom in a state of emergency after the bill reached the National Assembly (NA) on Friday. The draft law, which was approved

  • Temporarily laid-off workers to get just $70

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced changes in the allowances for temporarily laid-off garment workers from receiving 60 per cent of the minimum wage to a flat $70 because factories cannot pay, he said. Workers will also not be required to attend training courses after more than 100 factories

  • Tourists can now prolong their stay

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said tourists holding Visa T and arriving in the Kingdom after January 1 will be allowed to prolong their stay until they are able to return home. The decision comes as Cambodia and most countries take measures to

  • PM: Law likely next week

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the draft law aiming to place the Kingdom in a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to be approved after the Khmer New Year, though he said there is a slim chance of enforcement given the current