FRANCHISE BOSS QUITS AFTER ‘FOOLISH’ REMARKS
6 July 2012,
A BRUMBY’S Bakeries executive at the centre of a Carbon Tax gaffe has resigned.
Deane Priest has stepped down as the company’s executive director after he allegedly used an internal newsletter to encourage franchisees to lift prices and blame it on the new Carbon Tax.
“After all, your costs will be going up due to it,” he wrote.
The comments sparked an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigation into whether the bakery network had mistakenly linked price rises to the Federal Government’s $23 a tonne price on carbon which came into effect on July 1.
If found guilty, infringement notices of $6600 or fines up to $1.1 million could be handed to parent company Retail Food Group (RFG).
Southport-based RFG, which owns Brumby’s Bakeries, Donut King, Michel’s Patisserie and bb's cafe franchise systems, has distanced itself from the comments.
“[They] were innocent albeit foolish and ill-considered remarks…[we] express our genuine regret over this isolated incident and unreservedly apologise for this unacceptable error of judgment,” says CEO Tony Alford (pictured) in a written statement.
Media reports suggest RFG marketing and innovation director Tracey Catterall told franchisees the group would try to “win back the hearts and trust” of Brumby's customers.
The company is expected to place advertisements in the media this weekend and use social media networks to explain its position.
RFG shares declined on Friday to $2.69 per unit.