Indian-origin Ranjit Singh Boparan, also known as Britain’s ‘chicken king’, has stepped down as the chief executive officer of the 2 Sisters Food Group, a poultry group which he founded and owns.
Boparan has stepped down from the post of the chief executive officer (CEO) earlier this week to take charge as the President of Boparan Holdings Limited (BHL), the parent company of the group.
The 51-year-old businessman from the West Midlands region of England had founded the 2 Sisters Food Group 25 years ago in 1993 with his wife Baljinder Kaur Boparan.
It went on to become one of the country’s largest suppliers of poultry with numerous factories.
I am fully committed to building a better, more transparent business, modernising our company and simplifying our operations, Boparan said in a statement related to the change in his role.
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, he said.
The 2 Sisters Food Group said that a process has been put in place to find a new CEO and Martyn Fletcher, in his capacity as chief operating officer (COO), will be responsible for the operations of the business until a formal appointment has been made.
The change comes in the wake of a hygiene scandalat one of Boparan’s chicken plants last year following an undercover investigation, which triggered wider investigations by the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Boparan said his decision comes at a very important stage in the business history and will help secure strong foundations for future development and growth.
Charles Allen, chairman of the Boparan Holdings Ltd, added: 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, he added.
Separately, Boparan owns British turkey giant Bernard Matthews through Boparan Private Office. There were recent reports that he was considering the sale of his Irish fish supplying business to consolidate his food empire and in January, he sold another part of his business – the pizza brand ‘Goodfellas’ for 200 million pounds in cash.
The businessman, who left school at 16 to get into business, turned the 2 Sisters Food Group into Britain’s largest poultry supplier through a series of acquisitions.
The latest decision to transform his role within the food group came as the FSA report on regulatory failures and poor hygiene at the firm’s poultry plants was released.
The FSA had inspected sites operated by the 2 Sisters following a joint investigation by the Guardian newspaper and ITV television channel at the firms West Bromwich plant last year.
In a report published yesterday by MPs on the House of Commons environment, food and rural affairs (EFRA) committee, the FSA said it had reviewed CCTV footage at the poultry plants between July 2 and August 18, 2017, to gather evidence.
This provided evidence of sporadic poor hygiene and bad practice, such as inadequate use of protective clothing, placing of knives on unhygienic surfaces or inadequate cleaning procedures but did not represent widespread systematic failures, the report concluded.
The agency, however, said it was satisfied that the company had resolved the issues identified through corrective actions.
2 Sisters has also agreed to install upgraded CCTV systems in all its processing plants, to improve staff training, introduce a mystery worker programme, and improve the groups corporate culture.