Astral Foods CEO Chris Schutte hurt in motorcycle wreck

Chris Schutte, CEO of South African poultry company Astral Foods, was injured in a motorcycle accident on September 19.

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Chris Schutte (Astral Foods)
Chris Schutte (Astral Foods)

Chris Schutte, CEO of South African poultry company Astral Foods, was injured in a motorcycle accident on September 19.

Schutte’s accident occurred while he on leave and on a trip to celebrate his upcoming 60th birthday, Astral Foods said in a press release. The incident occurred on a dirt road in a remote area in the Great Karoo. He was airlifted to a medical facility in George, where he is being treated for multiple fractures, the company stated.

Once his condition is stabilized, he will be transported to a medical facility in Johannesburg, where he is to undergo operations for his fractures, and will be given medical attention by his medical team who is more familiar with his medical history.

The company said the span of his recovery period is not known at this point.

While Schutte heals, Daan Ferreira, Astral Foods’ chief financial officer, will assume the interim CEO role.

Earlier health concerns

Schutte’s accident occurred two months after he, as well as Astral Foods Chairman Theuns Eloff, tested positive for COVID-19. At the time, Astral Foods said Schutte, considered a high-risk patient, was under strict supervision of doctors and was self-isolating at home. Astral Foods further stated that it would communicate Schutte’s return to the job when appropriate.

No such announcement could be found on the Astral Foods website, but Schutte was quoted in a profit warning issued by the company on September 14.

 Prior to testing positive for COVID-19, Schutte went on medical leave as he underwent cardiovasuclar surgery in August 2019.  

Schutte has been the CEO of Astral Foods since May 1, 2010, when his predecessor, Nick Wentzel, resigned. Schutte joined Astral Foods in 2002, and served as managing director of the company’s animal nutrition division from July 2004 until he took over as CEO.

With annual slaughterings of 272 million chickens, Astral Foods is the largest poultry meat producer in Africa.

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