Adcock Ingram: Bidvest’s Wakeford named as chief

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Adcock Ingram’s biggest shareholder, Bidvest, has wasted no time in putting its own man in the driver seat at the pharmaceutical firm. Yesterday, only two days after Adcock announced chief executive Jonathan Louw’s resignation, Kevin Wakeford was announced as the new Adcock head with immediate effect. Wakeford has been the chief executive of Bidvest Travel and Aviation for the past three years and has been with the Bidvest group for more than 10 years. Prior to joining Bidvest, he spent nine years in the Southern Sun Hotel group and before that he was the group financial manager at South African Breweries. Bidvest owns 34.5 percent of Adcock after the takeover battle with Chilean drug maker CFR Pharmaceuticals, which saw the JSE-listed distribution and services company increase its stake from 2.54 percent to block the Chilean firm’s bid. Analysts have described Bidvest as more than a major shareholder at Adcock but not a controlling one. The election of Bidvest’s chief executive, Brian Joffe, as Adcock’s board chairman gave him more power to effect the management changes he had alluded to before acquiring the major shareholding. After the announcement, Joffe said strong business skills were what was required to lead Adcock’s recovery and the board was confident that Wakeford possessed such skills. Adcock fell 0.34 percent to close at R58.30 yesterday, while Bidvest rose 1.53 percent to close at R283.80. – Londiwe Buthelezi

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