Wholesale and retail company Musgrave Group has appointed a new chief financial officer, as online grocery shopping and markets such as China become an increased focus.
David O’Flynn, who led Musgrave’s foray into the Chinese market this year with online shopping giant Alibaba, succeeds Tim Kenny as CFO and company secretary for the owner of the SuperValu and Centra brands. Mr Kenny moved to Cairn Homes as CFO.
Mr O’Flynn joined the Cork-founded company in 2005, having held senior finance roles with international companies such as KPMG, Motorola, and Avery Dennison.
At Musgrave, he has been interim group finance director and more recently head of business development.
Musgrave chief executive Chris Martin said Mr O’Flynn had made an “invaluable” contribution to the company for the past 12 years.
“Recent accomplishments include leading the acquisition of CJ O’Loughlin, Allied Foods, and the launch of our partnership with Alibaba which has opened up new export opportunities for Musgrave,” he said.
“His strong track record of leading finance teams and identifying new business opportunities will help us deliver long-term sustainable growth, capitalising on the anticipated expansion of the grocery and food service markets across the island of Ireland and Spain.”
Mr O’Flynn led Musgrave’s partnership with Alibaba, which was announced late last year. The sale of branded SuperValu goods via China’s biggest online shopping company has been described as a significant opportunity for the Irish food industry.
Mr Martin said the China foray is a “toe in the water” and it remained to be seen how much growth was possible. Musgrave began selling 40 SuperValu own-branded goods, such as breakfast cereals, coffee, jam, biscuits, via Alibaba.
Musgrave last month announced profits before tax of €73m for the 2016 financial year. It reported sales of €3.7bn, while shareholder funds were €249m at year end.
Following the results, Mr Martin said the company would be ramping up its online grocery shopping due to changing habits. He said it presented
a major opportunity for growth.
“We’re absolutely embracing online shopping. I would say we are leading in many respects,” he said.
“Online is clearly running away in the non-food sector like textiles and electricals. In food it has been different. If you look around the world, the market with the biggest penetration of online is the UK which is around 6%-7% of the total grocery spend. In Ireland, we are around 1.5%. What we saw last year is that our online grew by about 22%. So far this year, it has grown by around 24%. We’re investing heavily.”
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