Former SHS Group drinks head to become Burts Snacks boss

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

David Nairn has stepped down as MD of Burts Snacks
David Nairn has stepped down as MD of Burts Snacks

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Burts Snacks managing director (MD) David Nairn has stepped down from his role after 14 years leading the business and is being replaced by the former MD of SHS Group’s drinks division David McNulty.

Burts said Nairn had left with immediate effect, but would continue to support Burts in an advisory role as non-executive director and company secretary.

According to Companies House, Nairn helped boost the Devon-based Burts’s annual sales from £7.9m in the year to 31 December 2010 to £44.4m in the year to 31 December 2018. Reports suggest the company was expecting to record sales of almost £55m in 2019, but accounts for the year have not yet been filed.

Nairn also oversaw the purchase of Leicester-based popcorn and health snacks firm Savoury & Sweet in December 2017, the first acquisition by the company since it was founded in 1997.

Career redefined

Commenting on his time with the company, he said: “My career has been redefined by this industry after 32 years in banking. The role played in supporting our people and customers every day and my passion to continue to support the Burts family story will never change.”

Chairman Jitu Patel commended Nairn’s experience and knowledge which he hoped would “continue to be invaluable for our leadership and continued growth”.

“His enthusiasm and tireless commitment to growth and strategic direction will ensure that Burts Snacks is well-positioned to continue on its growth trajectory,” ​Patel added.

Former SHS Drinks MD McNulty previously held roles as vice president of Coca-Cola Enterprises and director, ICC Europe at Kraft Foods. He was most recently director of Claria Consulting.

Dedicated team

McNulty said: “I am excited about this new opportunity and the prospect of working with such a dedicated and ambitious team.

“David’s leadership, commitment and passion for the business has created a long-lasting legacy and I am very much looking forward to building on his achievements, taking the brand and its product offering into the next chapter.”

Burts Snacks has invested more than £12m in the past seven years, allowing it to increase capacity at its Plymouth site to more than 200 tonnes a week. As of 2018, it employed 168 people at its main site while 99 people were employed at the former Savoury & Sweet factory and offices.

Nairn concluded: “I am proud of the extraordinary team and the incredible products we have developed, and I am excited for what the future holds under Dave’s stewardship.”

Meanwhile, last month saw a number of appointments across the industry, covered in our rundown of the people on the move in food and drink.

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