Ascendis Health names new chief executive officer

Ascendis Health names new chief executive officer

2 September 2019 - Deborah Wilkes

Ascendis Health has appointed Mark Sardi as chief executive officer and an executive director with effect from 14 October 2019.

Sardi joins the South African healthcare company from House of Busby where he has been chief executive officer since 2014.

He takes over from Andrew Marshall who has been chairman and acting chief executive officer since the departure of Thomas Thomsen in May (click here to read the News story).

Thomsen had been chief executive officer for just over a year. He joined Ascendis in August 2017 as chief operating officer and was promoted to chief executive officer in March 2018.

Marshall said Sardi was "well equipped" to lead Ascendis where the priorities were “to turn around underperforming businesses, dispose of non-core assets, reduce gearing and improve cash management while capitalising on the strong brand portfolio to generate organic sales growth".

He pointed out that Sardi had held senior leadership positions in investment banking, the pharmaceutical industry and the retail sector. “He has demonstrated his leadership ability in turning around complex organisations and is experienced in operating in international, multicultural business environments like Ascendis,” added Marshall.

A chartered accountant, Sardi was managing director and joint head of investment banking at Nedbank Capital for five years. He joined Truworths International as chief financial officer in 2010 and three years later was appointed as deputy chief executive officer of generic pharmaceutical business Cipla South Africa. In 2014, he was appointed group chief executive officer of House of Busby, the master franchiser for leading international brands.

Recent financial results

Ascendis reported sales of ZAR3.96 billion (USD0.27 billion) from continuing operations in the six months ended 31 December 2018, representing a rise of 3% compared to the same period a year earlier.

International sales were up by 7% to ZAR1.96 billion. The South African company said 50% of its sales had been generated outside of its home market.

The Consumer Health business recorded sales up by 5% to ZAR1.30 billion. It is the company's largest business, accounting for around 33% of total sales.

Normalised Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) at Ascendis were up by 1% to ZAR684 million, giving a margin of 17.3%.

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