SOUTH AFRICA –   Health and wellness business Ascendis Health has announced the appointment of Mark Sardi as chief executive officer and an executive director on the 2nd of September 2019.

He is to report to his new appointment with effect from 14 October 2019. Sardi joins the healthcare group from House of Busby where he has been CEO since 2014.

According to News 24, The post was being held at interim by the chairman of the company Andrew Marshall since the departure of the previous CEO Thomas Thomsen in May this year.

Ascendis said on May 24 that it had parted ways with Thomsen, who had only been in the job for 14-months. The company’s share had fallen 10.2% on the news, although it subsequently recovered.

Ascendis Health chairman said: “Mark has held senior leadership positions in investment banking, the pharmaceutical industry and the retail sector, and has a strong track record in strategic, operational and financial management in large listed and unlisted companies.

“He has demonstrated his leadership ability in turning around complex organisations and is experienced in operating in international, multi-cultural business environments like Ascendis Health,” he said.

Marshall said Sardi was well equipped to lead Ascendis Health in turning around under-performing businesses, disposing of non-core assets, reducing gearing and improving cash management while capitalising on the strong brand portfolio to generate organic sales growth.

Sardi, a chartered accountant, spent his early career in corporate finance and investment banking in London and Johannesburg and served as 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 CEO of generic pharmaceutical business Cipla South Africa.

In 2014 he was appointed as group CEO of House of Busby, the master franchisor for leading international brands.

Ascendis’s share price had been under pressure due to debt concerns and forced selling by major shareholder Coast2Coast, which was forced to sell the shares to meet loan obligations to lenders.

Sardi’s experience in pharmaceutical sector, including generic medication, counted in his favour during the choosing of the new CEO.