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New group Managing Director of the Halls Group


At the HL Hall & Sons Holdings board meeting on Thursday 24 February the board elected Tracey Davies to succeed Pete Backwell as managing director of the Halls group

Tracey, who currently leads our Fresh Produce business, will take office as Halls Holdings MD from the beginning of March. Pete will remain available to facilitate a smooth transition of leadership until the end of July when he reaches the mandatory retirement age for Halls executives. Pete, who has been the group managing director since 2014 and was the managing director of Halls Investments for the decade prior to that, will remain on the Halls Holdings board as a non-executive director.

Tracey’s appointment was influenced by her track record with the Halls group where she led the transformation of Deltamune – our biotechnology company in the animal health industry – and then the Halls Fresh Produce business.

Tracey started her career at Unilever, leading divisions in Robertsons and Unilever before moving to JSE-listed AECI. During her 11 years at AECI she led global businesses in the chemicals and food ingredients industries. Tracey joined the Halls group as the managing director of Deltamune, leading this company through a transformative process to reinvent its value proposition, cement a strong leadership team and achieve a successful financial turnaround of the business.

In 2018 Tracey became the first female managing director of Halls Fresh Produce, the wholly-owned subsidiary of the HL Hall & Sons group. Tracey has achieved remarkable success in her various leadership positions, and over the past three years has successfully led the international expansion of the Halls Fresh Produce business, with operations in the UK, France, Netherlands, Spain, China, and Peru.

The Halls Holdings board is enthusiastic about Tracey leading the continued global growth of the Halls businesses as the group’s geographic diversification continues. While the Halls head and spiritual home office remains at Mataffin, near Mbombela (Nelspruit) in South Africa, the measured and steady implementation of our geographic and industry diversification strategy has seen the group grow significantly in South Africa and abroad. The critical mass of the Halls Fresh Produce business is now in Europe, with the Halls International head office in the UK. What began as a farming operation in 1890 in the Lowveld of South Africa is today a diversified group of companies with significant interests in property development, pharmaceuticals, technology and financial services in addition to its growing fresh produce business, and has offices on four continents.

I am personally delighted with Tracey’s appointment, given that she has the character and business instinct to lead the Halls group wisely and to lift the group to new heights. Her leadership and proven performance make Tracey a natural successor to Pete, who has been the architect of our strategy “from Success to Significance” and has been a pioneer in leadership development across our group during his seven years at the helm.

The appointment of Tracey’s successor at Fresh Produce is well advanced and we expect to be able to make an announcement in this regard soon.

Kind regards

Hayley Newton-Holroyd Chair: Halls Holdings

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