Smith will replace Bill Showalter, who has elected to leave the seafood processor at the end of July, from 21 October 2019. Di Walker, group chief executive of Young’s owner Karro Food Group, will step into the role of acting chief executive between Showalter’s departure and Smith’s start.
Prior to his time at Seachill, Smith has held senior roles within a number of food and drink businesses, including alcoholic drinks giant Diageo and manufacturer Northern Foods.
Walker said: “I am delighted to announce the appointment of Simon to the role of chief executive for Young’s and am looking forward to working with him to deliver our ambitions for the company.
“Simon has extensive retail experience and is known and respected throughout the seafood industry for his achievements with Seachill and the development of the Saucy Fish brand.”
Smith said he was looking forward to the opportunity to work with Walker and Karro owner Capvest.
“Under its new leadership, the company [Young’s Seafood] is ideally placed across multiple categories to truly inspire people to love fish and embed its position as the UK’s leading seafood company,” said Smith. “I am very much looking forward to helping the business push forward with its national and international seafood ambitions”.
Walker thanked Showalter for his significant contribution to Young’s over the past six years and wished him the best for the future.
‘Number one in chilled and frozen sales’
“He can be proud that he leaves Young’s as the UK’s leading fish and seafood company, holding both the number one position in chilled and frozen sales,” he added.
Bill Showalter joined the Findus Group – the former parent company to Young’s Seafood – as chief financial officer in 2014, where he oversaw the sale of the Findus Group’s Continental European Businesses to Nomad Foods.
For the past three years he has led Young’s as chief executive and has played a key role in securing over £200m of long-term, own-label contracts with two of Britain’s leading retailers and successfully diversifying the company through the growth of its foodservice operations and the launch of the Young’s brand in the US market.
Karro acquired Young’s for an undisclosed sum earlier this month in a bid to create a new multi-protein food group with sales of more than £1.2bn a year.