Prescribed board changes at Ascendis Health, which inject a strong dose of consumer sector expertise, proved to be just the tonic for the depressed health-care company on Friday. The debt-laden company’s share price shot up more than 12% following the appointment of two nonexecutive directors — Phil Roux, the former CEO of Pioneer Foods, and Andrew Marshall, who enjoyed successful stints as CEO at fishing group Oceana and packaging giant Nampak. Marshall replaces experienced nonexecutive chair John Bester, who retired. The changes headed off a tense showdown after a demand in late April by two significant shareholders — Mergence Investment Managers and Acanthin Capital — to convene a general meeting to nominate new nonexecutives to the board. The Ascendis share price, which had already shifted up on the recent sale of three bioscience businesses for R480m, closed at the weekend on an eight-week high of 505c after the board changes were confirmed early on Friday afternoon. The compan...

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