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Rapid fall for successful baby formula CEO

It took 10 years for Laura McBain to build a small Tasmanian baby food company into a $1 billion share market darling, and just six weeks for it all to come crashing down.

The managing director and chief executive of Bellamy's is a casualty of the falling demand for the company's organic baby formula that is severely denting its earnings and has triggered a share price meltdown.

Her position appeared tenuous after the company issued a shock profit warning on December 2, linked to weaker than expected sales in China, where the company had been achieving astronomical revenue growth.

Ms McBain was appointed Bellamy's managing director in 2006 and played a key role in developing its brand, expanding its product range and establishing the company's supply chain.

It holds a significant share of the local market, but also generated strong growth in China, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

Ms McBain's success was recognised with the private and corporate sector award at the 2013 Telstra Business Women's Awards, and one year later she oversaw the company's share market listing.

From there Bellamy's continued to prosper, particularly in 2016 as a boom in demand from China for reliable, healthy baby formula drove massive revenue growth.

On December 1, 2016, Bellamy's was booming with a market value of $1.2 billion, and Ms McBain's personal share was worth more than $14 million.

Six weeks later, after two profit warnings, the company's shares have plunged 60 per cent, Ms McBain has lost her job, other executives' positions are under review and shareholders are planning legal action over the shock turnaround in the company's performance.

"Unfortunately, her legacy is going to be remembered with how she finished, as opposed to how she started," optionsXpress market analyst Ben Le Brun said.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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