Fox’s Biscuits boss joins Symington’s as CEO

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Symington's has four production sites, three in West Yorkshire and a wet meals & soups facility in Consett, Durham
Symington's has four production sites, three in West Yorkshire and a wet meals & soups facility in Consett, Durham

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Fox’s Biscuits boss David Cox has replaced John Power as chief executive of branded and own-label meal and snack supplier Symington’s.

Cox joins Symington’s on 4 November. He joined Fox’s after four years at General Mills, latterly as European managing director. Before this he was with Tesco as category director for four years, initially looking after the frozen category and then dairy. His early career was spent at Unilever where, for 10 years, he held various business development and account management roles.

“David is highly respected in the food industry and brings significant retail experience,”​ said Tim Whiting, chairman of Symington’s. “We are delighted to have attracted him to Symington’s and look forward to working with him as we take forward our ambitious plans for the business.” 

Commenting on his appointment, Cox said: “Symington’s is a fantastic business with huge potential and with great brands in growth markets. I look forward to joining the team at Symington’s and to the challenge of working across a number of different categories.”

Replaces Power

Cox replaces John Power who left Symington’s in September. Symington’s has provided no further information concerning the departure of Power, who remains on the shortlist for Food Manufacture​’s Business Leader of the Year 2020 Award for his accomplishments in the food industry. The shortlist of six candidates was selected by the editorial team and the winner is chosen by reader vote. Make your nomination now​.

Power took the helm at Symington’s in October 2016, steering it through a tough financial period, announcing in early 2018 that it had returned to growth and maintaining this momentum since then. He began his career with Associated British Foods in 2007 as operations director for the Silver Spoon Company.

Commenting on Power’s departure, Symington’s issued a statement: “After nearly four years at Symington’s, initially as chief operating officer and latterly as chief executive officer, John Power left the business in September, we thank him for his contribution. The time was right for us to move on under a different leadership and we are delighted to have appointed David Cox to the position."

Symington’s financial accounts for the year ended 26 August 2018 reported pre-tax profit ​of ​£10.2m, a 12.8% increase year-on-year. Significant investment in its Mug Shot and Naked brands along with strong innovation helped boost sales.

Brands include Mug Shot, Naked, Chicken Tonight

The Leeds-based company, which employs around 700 people, owns Mug Shot, Naked, Chicken Tonight, Ragu and free-from brand ilumi. It also produces a range of retailer brand products for all the major UK grocers, convenience stores and foodservice customers.

Symington’s has four production sites: three in West Yorkshire and a wet meals & soups facility in Consett, Durham. It was established in 1827 by William Symington, initially supplying tea, coffee and groceries before, according to the business, the founder invented instant soup and expanded into other dried foods.

Reports in September suggested that private equity firm Towerbrook was lining up 2 Sisters Food Group-owned Fox’s Biscuits for takeover in a mega-merger designed to create a European biscuit giant​. Rumours have been rife for the past few years that 2 Sisters has been considering selling Fox’s.

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