Personality of the Year Award

Wyke Farms boss in Personality of Year battle

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: R&r ice cream, Milk

Richard Clothier is battling Simon Baldry, Mark Allen, Fiona Kendrick, James Lambert and John Stevenson for the title Personality of the Year
Richard Clothier is battling Simon Baldry, Mark Allen, Fiona Kendrick, James Lambert and John Stevenson for the title Personality of the Year
De-listed Morrisons supplier Richard Clothier, boss of Wyke Farms, is in a head-to-head battle with five other food and drink industry leaders to win Food Manufacture’s Personality of the Year award.

The coveted title – part of the Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards (FMEAs) – recognises people who have shown strong leadership over the past year in the food and drink sector.

Clothier fought a high-profile social media campaign last summer to persuade the retailer to restock the cheese-maker’s 40,000 units each week. His David-versus-Goliath struggle won huge online support.

Widespread respect

While Morrisons had refused to reconsider its decision so far, Clothier won widespread respect for his determination to stand up to the retail giant and for winning substitute listings for his West Country business.

Under Clothier’s leadership, the firm continues to deliver impressive double digit growth, despite Morrisons’ decision.

He continues to campaign for manufacturers, calling for the Voluntary Code of Practice for the Dairy Industry to be extended to include manufacturers and retailers.

Stiff competition

But the Wyke Farms md faces stiff competition from five other charismatic food and drink industry characters.

They are: James Lambert, chairman of Europe’s largest own-label ice cream manufacturer R&R Ice Cream, Mark Allen, chief executive of Dairy Crest, Simon Baldry md Coca-Cola Entreprises, Fiona Kendrick, chairman and chief executive, Nestlé UK and Ireland and John Stevenson, MP and chairman of the House of Commons All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Food and Drink Manufacturing.

Please vote for the person you think has done most to benefit UK food and drink manufacturing here​.

James Lambert​, chairman of R&R Ice Cream. Lambert stepped down from his role as chief executive​ last week, following the completion of PAI Partners’ acquisition of the Yorkshire-based firm from Oaktree Capital Management. Lambert’s business ambition is as simple as it is bold: to build an ice cream enterprise to rival Unilever’s operation in Europe. After a string of well-timed acquisitions and last month’s sale of the business to private equity firm PAI Partners, Lambert is on track to his goal. R&R Ice Cream has been, for some time, Europe’s largest own-label manufacturer. R&R Ice Cream has 3,000 employees and 11 production sites across the UK and Europe. Revenues for the year ending December 31 2012 were about £507M (600M).

Mark Allen, ​chief executive of Dairy Crest. During his six years leading Dairy Crest, Allen has, in his own words “significantly accelerated”​ the firm’s journey from its Milk Marketing Board roots to a leaner, brand-focused outfit with impressive sales. The firm’s Cheddar brand Cathedral City was named one of Britain’s top 10 brands, alongside Apple and Marks & Spencer in a recent YouGov survey. As well as being the first firm to sign up to the Voluntary Code for Dairy Practice, Allen introduced a new formula-based system for milk pricing, which proved popular with farmers.

Simon Baldry, ​md, Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE). Baldry more than lived up to the goal he set last year as a main sponsor for the London Olympic Games: to leave a lasting environmental legacy, based on the company’s own sustainable growth plans. Under his leadership, CCE established a joint venture with recycling firm ECO Plastics to raise levels of recycled materials in its bottles. The Continuum Recycling facility for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) has sorted more than 250M bottles since it opened last year. His seven targets for CCE’s sustainable growth by 2020 included: reducing the company’s greenhouse gas emissions and water footprint, and raising the sustainability of its packaging.

Fiona Kendrick, ​chairman and chief executive of Nestlé UK and Ireland. Alongside running Nestlé UK and Ireland, Kendrick has worked tirelessly to ease the birth of Britain’s first accredited food and drink engineering degree. Kendrick prepared the way for the four-year masters, which begins in September 2014 at Sheffield Hallam University in partnership with the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and The National Skills Academy for Food and Drink. Kendrick hit the headlines when she said few would-be engineers were “willing to really roll up their sleeves” ​and engage with unskilled and semi-skilled operators.

John Stevenson,​ Conservative MP chairman for APPG for food manufacturing. Stevenson has long championed the UK’s food manufacturing sector but does not shirk from criticism on occasions. During the past year, he joined forces with opposition Labour politicians in fighting for the government to modify legislation to give the new Groceries Code Adjudicator the power to fine supermarkets when they have been found to have abused their power over their suppliers. As chairman of the APPG, however, he has raised the profile of food manufacturing among fellow MPs and ministers who have traditionally failed to understand its importance.

So, who do you believe deserves to wear the crown? Vote here​ for your food and drink manufacturing hero. 

The winner will be announced at a glittering awards dinner on Thursday November 21 at London’s Hilton Hotel in Park Lane.

Online entry for the FMEAs is both easy and free – and could win your food and drink manufacturing business a wealth of recognition.

For more information, including how to enter, simply download an online entry form from FoodManAwards . Alternatively, contact Rebecca George on 01293 610 422 or at Rebecca.george@wrbm.com .

The closing date for entries is Wednesday July 31 – good luck.

Meanwhile, read how Clothier is using social media to boost Wyke Farms' award winning cheese business in this Big Interview​ article, first published in the July edition of our sister magazine Food Manufacture​.

For breaking news on the fast-moving world of food and drink manufacturing, subscribe to our free newsletter​, delivered every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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