Ranjit Singh Boparan, co-founder and owner of 2 Sisters Food Group, has stepped down as the CEO of the scandal-hit firm. He will take up the position of President of Boparan Holdings Limited, the parent company of 2 Sisters, the company said in a statement.
The development comes in the midst of a tumultuous period for the firm, after an undercover investigation raised questions on the hygiene standards at its factories. The company recently said that it is planning to shut down it’s three factories.
The company has initiated a process to find a new CEO and Martyn Fletcher, in his capacity as COO, will be responsible for the operations of the business until a formal appointment has been made.
Boparan, who led the business for 25 years, said that he wanted to take up ‘a broader industry leadership role’ and termed the decision as ‘transformative’.
“I am fully committed to building a better, more transparent business, modernising our company and simplifying our operations. I want to take a broader industry leadership role and concentrate more on the issues and challenges that affect not only our business, but also the food sector in general such as Brexit, social responsibility and sustainability,” the statement quoted him as saying.
“These changes are the right ones to make at a very important stage in our business’s history and they help secure strong foundations for future development and growth. These are further major transformative steps in a journey to build a better business with a world-class leadership team,”he added.
Charles Allen, Chairman of BHL said: “Ranjit has spent 25 years of his life building a world class food business. He has been a catalyst for change within the food industry, by challenging the norm and providing our customers and consumers with great service, great quality food, and great prices. In his new role, he will be playing to his strengths, looking at new opportunities and reducing debt that will help take the business to new levels of success.”
The undercover investigation by Guardian and ITV in September 2017 exposed that the company is changing in slaughter dates to extend the shelf-life of meat, thereby duping consumers into buying out-of-date meat. It also showed that poultry is used on the production line even after being dropped on the floor. The report forced the company to suspend the production at the West Bromwich plant for five weeks.
The report also prompted an an investigation by the Food Standards Agency, which is continuing. Another inquiry by the parliamentary committee for environment, food and rural affairs, which summoned Boparan to collect evidence, found that the issues “were not a one off”.