Oliver’s founder removed from business

Oliver's-Real-FoodOliver’s Real Food founder Jason Gunn has now been completely removed from the business just three months after a “transition process” saw him resign as chief executive.

Gunn, who founded Oliver’s in 2003, has ceased his employment at Oliver’s and is no longer on its board, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Oliver’s shares sank 10.3 per cent to 13 cents in early Wednesday trading, less than half its 30-cent listing price from 30 June last year.

Gunn remains a personal shareholder with 75,000 shares held and 1 million tied up in options. Further, his associated companies hold more than 45 million shares in the business.

Jason Gunn

Jason Gunn

It comes after he stepped down as CEO last month following a review by the board that determined the next stage of the company’s growth would be better shepherded by a more experienced industry figure.

Former Subway UK country director Gregory Madigan was appointed as his replacement and has embarked on an urgent review of the business to stem mounting losses in several key operational areas.

Late last month the business slashed its earnings guidance by 54 per cent after a series of botched store openings, some of which were pursued under Gunn’s leadership.

In March the business, which floated on the ASX last year, said Gunn would play an active role on its board moving forward.

Gunn had said he was supportive of the executive transition, outlining a belief that Madigan was the right person to lead the company into its next growth phase.

“I believe, as do all the directors, that Madigan has the skills and experience to take Olvier’s to the next level,” he said in March.

Shareholders had been asking questions about Gunn’s role in the business moving forward and whether he would interfere with Madigan’s vision for the company.

Chairman Mark Richardson allayed concerns last month, saying that Madigan had complete day-to-day responsibility for the business.

But the company said in its release on Wednesday that Gunn had “agreed that he will step aside from all involvement in day-to-day operations”, suggesting that he was still involved in some capacity.

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