USA – US consumer-packaged goods holding company Post Holdings has announced Jeff Zadoks, currently its executive vice president (EVP) and COO, as interim CEO for an unspecified period.

The announcement follows that CEO, Rob Vitale, is to take an unexpected leave of absence on unspecified medical grounds.

Vitale will also be stepping down temporarily from his position of executive chairman of Bellring Brands, which was the active nutrition arm of Post Holdings until the company spun off and listed the business in 2019.

St Louis-based cereal and pet-food heavyweight Post said Jeff Zadoks will act as interim CEO while Vitale is on leave.

Zadoks has served in various roles at Post since 2011. Prior to serving as EVP and COO, he spent eight years as the company’s CFO.

On Vitale’s situation, it said: “At this time, it is too soon to know the course of treatment and timing of recovery.”

William Stiritz, chairman of Post’s board of directors wished Rob best wishes as he recovers.

“We are grateful to Jeff for stepping in during Rob’s absence. Post’s operating model and exceptional team of business unit and holding company executives give me great confidence in our ability to maintain the continuity of our business.”

Vitale was appointed as Post’s CEO in 2014, replacing Stiritz in the role. He had been the company’s CFO for the previous three years.

The news of Vitale’s leave of absence came as Post announced preliminary results for Q4 of its 2023 fiscal year.

It recorded net sales of US$1.9bn, the same as Q3 but up $300m year-on-year. Adjusted EBITDA of US$349m compared favorably with the US$279.7m achieved in the corresponding period in 2022.

Post said it expects adjusted EBITDA for the fiscal year to be between US$1.2bn and US$1.26bn, slightly ahead of previous guidance in the US$1.18bn to US$1.2bn range.

The company said its performance has been “driven by strong results for both cereal and pet food with Post Consumer Brands and continued outperformance in Foodservice”.

Recently, Post hinted at plans to bag Perfection Pet Foods for US$235 million.

Post Holdings said on October 10 that it expects to close the transaction in the final quarter of 2023, which is the first quarter of the company’s new financial year.

According to Post, the deal for Perfection Pet Foods will provide “additional manufacturing capacity to insource a portion of its current pet-food business and an entry point into the private label and co-manufacturing pet-food category”.