Food Manufacture Podcast

Bart Ingredients CEO: If you’re trying to be someone you're not, you won't last very long

By Bethan Grylls

- Last updated on GMT

Adam Sims is currently deputy CEO for Bart Ingredients and will take on the role as CEO this April 1st.
Adam Sims is currently deputy CEO for Bart Ingredients and will take on the role as CEO this April 1st.

Related tags Food Manufacture Podcast Leadership

In this latest instalment of the Food Manufacture Podcast, hosts Bethan Grylls and Gwen Ridler hear from Bart Ingredients’ newly appointed CEO.

Adam Sims has fond and vivid memories of cooking and baking. With two working parents, he spent a lot of time with his nan in the kitchen.

“I have vivid memories of making pepper mint cremes,”​ he shared.

Sims’ love for culinary delights didn’t wane as he got older, but his parents pushed him towards what they considered to be ‘a more stable’ path – finance.

The now CEO of herb and spice producer Bart Ingredients, based in Bristol, ended up a Bournemouth University studying accountancy and finance. However, it wasn’t long before food came calling again... 

“After completing university I joined Dairy Crest within the accounts payable department – I had many friends from my course who joined JP Morgan as they had an associated programme with Bournemouth university on decent starting salaries, but being from a working class family my parents suggested I started from more humble beginnings.”

After seven years at Dairy Crest, Sims and his now wife, decided to relocate and settle down in Bristol, later joining Bart as its head of commercial finance.

Sims explained that he had always had an entrepreneurial spirit and an ambition to lead – although admittedly, he said he had expected it to be his own little start-up, not a business with a £50m turnover!

One of the experiences which perhaps helped fuel his drive was a failed interview in his mid-twenties, where he was told he would never be good enough to be a financial director.

“It still plays on my mind today,”​ he admitted, as he explained the event had most likely shaped the way he is with his own team.

“Sometimes it’s the small things that have an impact on your career,” ​he continued.

“I try and understand the person more in an interview. I hire more for the person and train the skills into them […] I’m much more collaborative and about developing and growing a person.” 

Despite his earlier ambitions to be a finance director, he later realised that the next step was no longer a career he wanted to pursue. Instead, he asked if he could move departments into commercial.

“It was scary to go into an area that I hadn’t worked in before, but I felt supported by the company.”

Now, nine years on since joining the company, Sims is due to take over the reigns fully next week (1 April 2024).

Reflecting on his journey to where he is today, he said there was little he’d do differently.

“I’m not a person who has regrets. When we make decisions, I think they were right at that point of time.”

He concluded with a message on authenticity for those treading a similar path: “Stay genuine and authentic to yourself, because it is quite a high-pressure job. You do spend a lot of time thinking about the business. There are periods where do we need to adapt, but if you’re trying to be someone you not, you won’t last very long.”

“Have the right support structures around you,” ​he added. “I can only imagine if you didn’t, it would be quite a lonely place.”

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