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Directorate Change and Creation of Strategic Advisory Board for Primark

Associated British Foods plc (“the Company”) announces today that Eoin Tonge has been appointed as the next Finance Director of the Company. Eoin will succeed John Bason who will be retiring as Finance Director and will be stepping down from the ABF Board.

Eoin will join the business with a start date to be agreed but no later than February 2023.  He is currently Chief Financial Officer and Chief Strategy Officer at Marks and Spencer Group Plc, a position he has held since May 2022, having joined as Chief Financial Officer in June 2020. Prior to that, Eoin was Chief Financial Officer of Greencore Group plc from 2016 to 2020 and, before that, was Managing Director of Greencore’s grocery division and Chief Strategy Officer.

After stepping down from the ABF Board, John will subsequently become Chairman of a newly constituted Strategic Advisory Board and Senior Advisor at the Company’s retail business, Primark.  He has agreed to stay on as Finance Director until the end of April 2023 to ensure a smooth transition.

The Primark Strategic Advisory Board will provide external expertise to Paul Marchant, Primark Chief Executive, and to the Primark Leadership Team as the business continues its expansion and development. The Board will have members chosen for specific and relevant areas of expertise. The Board will not have a governance role and Primark’s financial and operational reporting relationship with ABF will remain unchanged.

Since our trading update of 20 June 2022, Group trading has been in line with our expectations and our full year outlook remains unchanged.

George Weston, Chief Executive of Associated British Foods, said:

“I’m delighted to welcome Eoin to ABF. His extensive knowledge and experience of both retail and food industries along with his energy and broad understanding of business make him an ideal successor to John as Finance Director. I am confident he will make a strong contribution to the senior management team and to the business.

John has been at ABF for more than 23 years. His contribution has been wide-ranging and exceptional, and I’d like to thank him for both his unbounded commitment to our company and for his support to me personally. I am delighted therefore that he will be making his wisdom and experience available both to Paul and to Primark, a business that he admires and knows well. The environment in which Primark operates is becoming increasingly complex, presenting the business with substantial opportunities for growth. The new Board will support Paul and his team as they examine these opportunities to develop and grow the business.”

Michael McLintock, Chairman of Associated British Foods, said:

“On behalf of the ABF Board, I would like to record our deep gratitude for the exceptional service that John has given the Group during his 23 years as Finance Director. His contribution over this period has been immense and, when he steps down from the Board at the end of April, he will be hugely missed as both a friend and a colleague. I am delighted that in due course we will continue to benefit from John's expertise and advice in his new role at Primark.

I join George in extending a very warm welcome to Eoin."

John Bason, Finance Director, said:

“It has been a privilege to be Finance Director of ABF in a period that has seen considerable development of the Group.  I have enjoyed my time at ABF hugely and I’d like to thank my team for their support and to recognise the many colleagues with whom I have worked. I’m now looking forward to working closely with Paul and his leadership team to deliver on Primark’s full potential.”

Paul Marchant, Primark Chief Executive, said:

“John has been a longstanding and trusted colleague and I am excited by the opportunity to work with him in his new role. I know he’ll bring his wide-ranging experience to help shape the direction of the Primark strategy.”

Eoin Tonge said:

“ABF has a prestigious heritage, a strong sense of purpose and an exciting portfolio of diverse businesses. I am looking forward to working with the management teams to meet the challenges ahead and drive growth.”

The Company confirms that there are no further details to disclose under 9.6.13R of the Listing Rules in respect of Eoin Tonge.

For further information please contact:

Associated British Foods:
Tel: 020 7399 6545

George Weston, Chief Executive
John Bason, Finance Director
Chris Barrie, Corporate Affairs Director

Citigate Dewe Rogerson:
Tel: 020 7638 9571

Jos Bieneman Tel: 07834 336650
Holly Gillis: 07940 979560

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Notes to Editors

1. Associated British Foods is a diversified international food, ingredients and retail group with sales of £13.9bn and 128,000 employees in 53 countries. It has significant businesses in Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia and Australia.

Our aim is to achieve strong, sustainable leadership positions in markets that offer potential for long-term profitable growth. We look to achieve this through a combination of growth of existing businesses, acquisition of complementary new businesses and achievement of high levels of operating efficiency.

2. Eoin Tonge has been Chief Financial Officer and Chief Strategy Officer at Marks and Spencer Group Plc since May 2022. He joined the company as Chief Financial Officer in June 2020 and led the business through the challenging Covid period. From 2006 to 2020, he worked at Greencore Group plc where he was Group CFO and before that Managing Director of the Grocery Division which served all major UK retailers. As Chief Strategy Officer, he led the delivery of acquisition and disposal activities, and the reset of the company’s US and UK strategies. From 1994 to 2006 he worked at Goldman Sachs in London, Hong Kong and New York.

3. John Bason was appointed as Finance Director of ABF in May 1999. He was previously Finance Director of Bunzl plc. John was a Non-Executive Director at Compass Group PLC from 2011 to 2022, including roles as chair of the Audit Committee and Senior Independent Director. He is currently a Non-Executive Director at SSE plc and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc and is also Chairman of the charity FareShare.

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