Border Biscuits boosts senior team in drive for growth

By Jerome Smail

- Last updated on GMT

From left to right: Kevin Smithson, Linda Brown, Mark Chance, Simon Stoten, Lisa Mullen
From left to right: Kevin Smithson, Linda Brown, Mark Chance, Simon Stoten, Lisa Mullen

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Border Biscuits has appointed a new operations director and technical manager as part of a major talent acquisition drive.

Kevin Smithson has taken up the former role, joining from drinks manufacturer C&C Group where he held the role of group manufacturing director. Smithson, who has also worked at Genius Foods and the Jordans & Rivita Company, will oversee refinement of Border’s end-to-end supply chain efficiencies, the company said.

“I am delighted to have joined Border Biscuits at such an exciting time for the business and continue building on the foundations already in place to support our push for growth,” ​said Smithson. “I’m looking forward to helping the team grow both professionally and personally to meet that challenge and drive improvements in our factory operations through our people.”

Lisa Mullen has been appointed technical manager for the Lanarkshire-based biscuit maker. With 20 years’ experience in the industry, Mullen will be tasked with maintaining standards in the company’s manufacturing process.

“Border Biscuits is a brand I’ve always admired, and it has been an ambition of mine to work for the business since I arrived in Scotland 25 years ago,”​ said Mullen. “When the opportunity arose, it was one I grasped with both hands.”

New faces

Border has made three further senior appointments, with Mark Chance (formerly of Purity Brewing, Cadbury and Tyrrells) taking up the position of sales director, Simon Stoten promoted to finance director, and Linda Brown filling the role of master biscuitier.

Brown will focus on new product development, the company said, adding that the role had attracted a large number of applicants with some as far away as India.

The senior appointments follow Paul Parkins taking up the role of managing director at the independently owned business in August 2020.

“This is a huge milestone for us as one of the UK’s most loved biscuit brands,”​ said Parkins. “The high calibre of the new additions to our senior team, alongside the expertise and experience they bring, is absolutely indicative of Border Biscuits direction of travel.”

Growth ambition

Before joining Border, Parkins held senior roles with companies including McVitie’s and Tyrrells. He spent two years as a non-executive director on the board at Border before taking the position of managing director, with previous incumbent John Cunningham stepping into the post of chief executive.

Parkins’s appointment signalled a focus by Border to drive growth back into the business. In 2019, the biscuit maker’s turnover reduced by 3% to £16.5m, with increased promotional costs eroding net profit from £1.2m to £0.4m, the company said.

“As a business, we have ambitious targets for growth which are supported by significant investment,”​ Parkins added. “We’re pleased to have further strengthened our senior team as we lay the solid foundations to build that growth.”

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