Tulip boss replaced as fortunes slide

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Steve Francis has replaced Chris Thomas as ceo of Tulip
Steve Francis has replaced Chris Thomas as ceo of Tulip

Related tags Meat Denmark

Steve Francis has been appointed the new ceo of meat processor Tulip by its parent Danish Crown, replacing Chris Thomas with effect from September 5.

The change at the top comes as fierce competition in the retail market, increasing raw material prices, the loss of significant contracts and internal problems with productivity and pricing have hit ​Tulip, which will end the financial year by making a loss, reported Danish Crown.

Restructuring experience

Francis brings with him extensive experience from the meat industry and of restructuring and turning around manufacturing companies.

“We would like to thank Chris Thomas for his efforts over the past three years, and I wish him all the best in the future,”​ said Danish Crown group ceo Jais Valeur.

Francis is described by Danish Crown as an expert in solving complex problems in companies where “that’s what we usually do”​ no longer suffices.

“In the course of his career, our new ceo Steve Francis has on several occasions demonstrated that he is able to effect change within a short period of time,”​ added Valeur.

“Over the summer, we have realised that there are significant gains to be made through more focused efforts and closer cooperation with the rest of the group.

‘Regain our position’

“We want to regain our position as the preferred choice among consumers and customers in the key UK market. This task is now in the hands of Tulip’s new ceo.”

Francis said: “I am excited to be joining the leadership team at Tulip. Tulip is a great British business supported by a powerful parent and business partner in Danish Crown.

“I am convinced that working with passion for food, passion for farming and with pace, discipline and precision as a team we can overtake our rivals and return to our rightful position as the number one player in pork.”

In January this year, pork processor Tulip announced plans to move its cooked meat operations from Bodmin in Cornwall to other sites in the UK, putting 430 jobs at risk.

The decision to change its existing manufacturing operation was made as a result of supplier reviews with some of Tulip's customers, the business claimed.

Under its proposal, Tulip also intended to expand the cooked bacon operations at its Bodmin facility.

Steve Francis in brief

Steve Francis holds a Master’s degree in Physics from Oxford University. He has worked for international companies such as McKinsey, PwC and Barclays, and has held a number of executive positions with the Dutch slaughterhouse group Vion Food Group.

Most recently, he was ceo of the UK company Danwood, where he successfully turned a loss of more than £9.04M into a profit of more than £5.66M within the space of 12 months.

Francis’s CV:

2012–2015: Danwood Group, ceo

2008–2012: Vion Food Group, chief operating officer (coo) / chief financial officer (cfo) then md, Pork Business Unit

2005–2007: British Vita, coo / cfo

2003–2005: MNS Partners, founder and partner

2001–2003: Barclays Capital, md and head of corporate finance

1999–2001: PwC, lead partner European mergers and acquisitions

1997–1999: AT Kearney, vice president. Head, northern European strategy

1992–1997: McKinsey & Company, senior engagement manager

1988–1992: Brent Chemicals, divisional director and head of corporate development

1985–1988: County Natwest, assistant director

1983–1985: First Chicago, graduate trainee

1983: MA, physics, University of Oxford

Related news

Show more

Related suppliers

Follow us

Featured Jobs

View more


Food Manufacture Podcast

Listen to the Food Manufacture podcast