Former Ella’s Kitchen boss named as THIS chief executive

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

Cuddigan previously served as the CEO at Ella's Kitchen. Credit: THIS
Cuddigan previously served as the CEO at Ella's Kitchen. Credit: THIS

Related tags plant-based

Plant-based food manufacturer THIS has announced the appointment of former Ella’s Kitchen boss Mark Cuddigan as its new CEO.

Cuddigan will replace co-founders Andy Shovel and Pete Sharman, who have acted as co-CEOs since the business was launched in 2019.

Due to take on the role from 19 February 2024, Cuddigan will report to the firm’s board of directors.

Meanwhile, Shovel and Sharman will remain involved with the business on a day-to-day basis, supporting the senior team and the board of directors.

It was also confirmed that THIS managing director Mark Turner would be stepping down from his role on 31 January. Turner joined the company in September 2021 and helped it achieve 47% revenue growth last year.

In December 2023, THIS posted an annualised revenue of around £22m, with its plant-based meat alternatives stocked nationwide at major supermarkets, restaurants and cafes. Based in London, the firm is B Corp certified and was named the fastest growing brand in the chilled meat-free category by IRI Temple Total Grocery.

Cuddigan is a ‘seasoned pro’

Cuddigan served as Ella’s Kitchen CEO for 12 years, first arriving at the business in August 2011. During that time he oversaw its acquisition by The Hain Celestial Group in May 2013 and drove the firm’s revenue from £41m to £100m.

In 2018, he became a member of the B Corp board of trustees and played a role in Ella’s Kitchen becoming the second company to gain the accreditation while being part of a PLC back in 2016. Cuddigan left The Hain Celestial Group and B Corp in November 2023 to take a career break.

Commenting on Cuddigan’s impending arrival as THIS chief executive, Shovel said that while he and Sharman had done a “semi-decent​” job as early-stage co-CEOs, they wanted to “invite a seasoned pro” ​to help them continue the journey.

Shovel continued: “We're absolutely thrilled to have someone with such a rich experience within FMCG, genuine passion for our mission and an exceptional track record of driving sustainable growth through an engaged and empowered team, leading the business into the next chapter on the THIS journey.”

THIS on an 'impressive growth journey'

Reflecting on his decision to join the business, Cuddigan said that he was keen to lead THIS into a “new chapter​” of its story.

It’s a business on an impressive growth journey, with a strong brand, talented team and a reputation as a leader in the food industry​,” he added.

“I will be very focused on working with the team to continue to deliver category leading growth, as we serve the millions of people across Europe who eat our products every day. One of the vital ways of combating global warming is transitioning to a plant-based diet and we will have a crucial role in making this transition a great experience for consumers.”

Paying tribute to the departing Turner, Shovel said: “We would like to thank Mark for the huge amount of effort and dedication he’s shown to help get the business to its current position, both in terms of commercial support, strategic planning and on being the driving force behind so many key initiatives.”

In other news, the food trends that dominated TikTok in the UK during 2023 have been revealed by a new study.

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