Three former Aryzta executives join ex-CEO in suing bakery group

The former executives with Cuisine de France parent are suing for ‘specific performance’, signalling they are seeking compensation to which they claim they are entitled

Three former executives with Aryzta have joined its one-time chief executive Kevin Toland in launching legal cases against the Swiss-Irish baked goods group stemming from their exits in late 2020.

They include Aryzta’s former chief executive for Europe Gregory Sklikas, its chief people officer Tony Murphy, and one-time chief commercial officer of Aryzta North America John Heffernan, according to court filings this week.

All four are suing for “specific performance”, according to court records, signalling they are seeking compensation for amounts they claim they are contractually entitled to.

All four men left Arzyta in late 2020 following a boardroom coup that saw Swiss food industry executive Urs Jordi take over as chairman that September, before becoming interim CEO two months later as Mr Toland exited the business.


Aryzta is best known in Ireland as the owner of the Cuisine de France brand. It supplies par-baked goods to customers ranging from McDonald’s and Subway to Lidl, Aldi and Dunnes Stores.

A spokesmen for Aryzta declined to comment on the cases, which are at a preliminary stage. Donal Spring of Daniel Spring & Co Solicitors, who is representing each of the four men, was not available for comment for Wednesday morning.

Mr Toland left the company with immediate effect on November 19th, 2020, a month after a suitor for the group, hedge fund Elliott Management, which had been courted by the previous board, walked away. Mr Jordi had made it clear from the outset of his tenure that the company should not be sold at that stage, but restructured.

Elliot had pitched a bid at 0.8 Swiss francs (82 euro cent) per share. The stock has since rebounded to 1.64 francs, helped by non-core asset sales, a recovery in earnings and reduction of its debt burden to give it a market value of 1.62 billion francs (€1.67bn).

Mr Sklikas is now CEO of the Greek state postal service ELTA Hellenic Post. Mr Murphy is interim chief people officer with UK-based online food deliver service Deliveroo. Mr Heffernan is managing director of the Irish unit of Valeo Foods, owner of brands from Jacob’s biscuits to Italian cakes company Balconi.

Mr Toland was appointed chairman of Gas Networks Ireland in late 2022. His other current corporate positions include non-executive directorships at New York-listed Dole plc, Bewley’s Limited and Invert Robotics, which has developed climbing robots often used in hazardous or hard-to-reach environments.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times