Ted Pretty makes quick exit from Hills

Hills Group chief executive Ted Pretty (pictured) has made a sudden exit from the company as it moves its focus from traditional manufacturing to security, AV, audio, communications and health.

The company said in a statement that Pretty’s role will be taken by current Hills Chief Operating Officer Grant Logan, effective immediately.

“After discussing the refined strategy with Ted we have agreed that this is the time for a change in executive leadership,” Jennifer Hill-Ling, Hills Chairman, said in a statement.

Logan joined Hills four years ago as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and was appointed Chief Operating Officer in February 2015. He has had a number of executive roles in both Australian public companies as well as global multinationals.

The news comes as profits continue to fall at the company which is famous for making the iconic Hills Hoist clotheslines.

Hills said that there was no change to underlying net profit after tax guidance. However, statutory profit will fall because of one-off costs of about $5 million. These include costs associated with due diligence on acqusitions that won't be progressed, as well as costs associated with Pretty's departure.

Last year Hills signed a deal with Woolworths that granted the retailer exclusive rights to the Hills brand of garden products including the Hills Hoist.

The licence is for a minimum period of seven years with Woolworths having three options for renewal for further four year periods.

Hills maintained ownership of its heritage brand and the intellectual property in product patents and designs including the intellectual property in the Hills Hoist clothesline.

Image: The Adelaide Advertiser