Boasting more than 30 years of senior experience in the food sector, Tugnait joins the business from Sysco Speciality Group, where he served as chief executive since April 2020.
Prior to his time at Sysco, Tugnait held the position of chief executive at Fresh Direct Group and previously served as managing director for both of Brakes Group (2014–16) and Country Choice (2005–12).
He has also spent 12 years on operating boards under two private equity ownerships – CD&R and Bain Capital – and was part of two successful exits.
23 years at Sysco
Commenting on his appointment, Tugnait said: “After 23 successful years at Sysco, the excitement of applying my skills and working with a talented team to take Meadow to even greater success is the reason for me joining.
“I would like to congratulate Mark and Simon Chantler for building a successful business and Exponent for the opportunity. The company has excellent fundamentals and a plan for growth accompanied by a strong and aligned team focussed on innovation, quality, sustainability and continuous improvement and I look forward to taking over from Mark in May.”
Tugnait will be taking over for Mark Chantler, who will leave the role in May. Chantler will remain part of the leadership team with a seat on the board as a non-executive director and significant shareholder.
Chantler added: “I feel immensely privileged to have led Meadow Foods in its transition from a family dairy business to the market-leading ingredients business we have today.
‘Next phase of growth’
“Meadow Foods is stronger, more diverse and more financially secure than ever before and we feel now is the time for an experienced and entrepreneurial operator to lead us through this next phase of growth. I look forward to working with Exponent, Raj and the executive team going forward.”
Meadow Foods supplies value-added ingredients to the food industry from six divisions across four sites in Chester, Peterborough, Holme-on-Spalding Moor and Dolgellau.
The company employs more than 450 people that process more than 550m litres of milk each year. The business counts more than 350 active customers and thousands of suppliers.
Meanwhile, Yorkshire plant-based 'milk' brand Mighty has announced the appointment of Ben Baldwin, who has previously worked with Innocent Drinks, Arla Foods and McCain Foods, as its out-of-home business development manager.