Executive vacancies

Date Posted
Job TitleDivisional Director (Main Board) General Manager (Foods Division)
LocationSouth Yorkshire

Company background

A leading international branded foods business, which manufactures and markets some of the world’s best known and loved sweet and savoury snacks. No 1 in the UK and second largest in the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Ireland. Their brands are sold in over 100 countries and it has strong consumer bases in the rest of Europe, North America, the Middle East, Africa, India, other parts of Asia and Australia.

In 2012 the business delivered a solid performance despite challenging economic conditions impacting consumer spending. Over the past year, the business has continued to rapidly expand its international footprint and to make significant strides towards its environmental sustainability goals. It has also successfully completed the fourth year of its community programme

Founded in 1948 the business now employs over 6,800 employees with 12 manufacturing facilities, of which seven are in the UK, two in France, and one each in Belgium, Holland and India.  

The business is jointly owned by global private investment and advisory firms who bought the business in October 2006 in a deal worth £1.6bn (€2.3bn).

This role relates to a long established foods business with an annual T/O of c £50m which is the No 2 manufacturer in the UK and is 100% branded with a portfolio that splits across traditional and specialist Value Brand share in 2012 was 5.8%, which was 0.3 point growth on 2011.

A key challenge for the successful hire will be to identify and develop a “mutually attractive forward growth plan” with their global licenced partner. The role requires and individual who is able to further build the share position for the Unit and whilst also identifying new portfolio growth opportunities that will enable the business to compete with their NO1 competitor as well as smaller competitors and own label brands.

This is a fully autonomous, integrated business unit, with the successful candidate having full P&L accountability. The position requires an individual who can manage a diverse range of business challenges on a daily basis across the commercial, operational and manufacturing functions.The business manufactures product at a main site in South Yorkshire as well as having several manufacturing lines at another NW based facility. Strong operational leadership is required of both sites, as well as an individual who can manage the broader category manufacturing strategy for the medium term, which could, potentially, include a consideration of investing in manufacturing capacity in their own and other Group sites.

The division produces 20,000 tonnes p/a in their own facilities and 3,000 tonnes made via 3rd parties (the lead 3rd party manufacturer is based in Belgium), who this individual will also be expected to manage.

The successful candidate will also need to manage the roll out of products to enable the development and growth in the relevant market segments. The new General Manager will also have to develop and execute a strategy that is agreed between the joint shareholders as well as the Executive Management team, ensuring that they have effectively influenced the relevant parties to reach an agreement. This candidate will also need to ensure that category management and brand development is cohesive and appealing to a broad consumer base in a competitive market.The business is fast paced and dynamic, with a significant forward growth plan and change agenda. This role is an exciting opportunity for an individual who can build and deliver the strategic growth ambitions currently laid out for the unit. There is an appetite for expansion; with funding for investment or acquisition available, Northern Europe is also an area where the business could expand, utilising the Group’s existing distribution channels.

The Business is looking for a candidate with “head room” to move into a larger, more senior role within the organisation within 3/5 years.

Key responsibilities

This position encompasses full responsibility for the commercial and operational initiatives of the division. The role has two direct reports (heads of sales and marketing) as well as four matrixed reports (factory general manager, technical brand manager, HR business partner and co-manufacturing manager – all roles report on a matrix level to functional heads). The General Manager has total responsibility for developing and implementing the business strategy, plans and achievement of the annual budget of the division and all functional decisions (e.g. for marketing, sales or manufacturing) are taken locally.

The key responsibilities for this role are:

  • Achieve profitable growth through volume and market growth
  • To contribute to the overall UK business in the development and delivery of strategies and plans that allow for incremental revenue and EBITDA to be delivered into the UK business
  • To construct detailed annual operating plans for the total business and ensure delivery of these plans so that revenue, EBITDA and Cash targets are achieved
  • To guide and motivate a cross functional team towards delivery of budget targets; guiding the sales and marketing teams to deliver excellent brand, NPD and account plans
  • Leading the commercial team towards the delivery of exceptional sales results
  • To lead the Operational / Manufacturing teams whilst also delivering optimal results through the rest of the Group’s manufacturing facilities
  • To lead, motivate and develop a committed team across the Commercial and Operational functions that ensures that the group has the capability to deliver the growth targets
  • Instil a performance improvement culture that focuses on and achieves strong, double digit growth on a compound annual basis
  • Plays the lead / a visible role in developing new, and manages existing relationships, with the Grocery Multiples and the Impulse sector, in the UK and (potentially) in Northern Europe
  • Continual investment in Brands through well coordinated marketing campaigns in order to achieve sustained improvement in performance

Experience / Technical Competencies

A mix of cross functional (marketing and sales) experience with some General Management exposure / experience  

Some Manufacturing experience would be advantageous, as this role controls the end to end supply chain Experience as a business leader leading change within a fast moving business

Proven business transformation and development experience 

Proven experience and ability to invigorate and nurture brands

Innovative; understands the innovation process at the same time as also driving the consumer insight to support new product development

Demonstrable experience of significant incremental sales / profit growth within a leading FMCG brand 

Highly developed capabilities with strong sales and marketing performance 

Customer and Consumer focused, with a strong knowledge of sales channels, particularly the Grocery Multiple and Impulse sectors 

Leadership characteristics

  • An “up and coming” profile, an energetic individual who is also modest and “down to earth” in approach
  • Comfortable operating in a Private Equity environment
  • Management skills – a dynamic and inspirational individual who takes an innovative approach to achieving the results required by the business – with a track record in developing and motivating high performance management teams 
  • Empowering, collaborative and example-led leadership style; innovative, results-oriented approach
  • Able to focus both on the macro and micro level; capable of leading and contributing to the strategic agenda whilst being able to drill down into the operational detail when appropriate
  • Financially astute with a sound understanding of key value drivers
  • Ability to be seen as credible with key management, investors, customers and employees; able to operate with all levels effectively


  • Degree educated or equivalent.

Located in the NW/NE England or able to relocate to be permanently based at the South Yorkshire office.


Contact Email

London office

Tel: +44 (0)207 917 1711

Hong Kong office

Tel: +852 2297 2883


Email: peter@harlingmenzies.com