John West promotes new commercial director from within

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

Willoughby has more than 10 years of experience with the company. Credit: John West Foods
Willoughby has more than 10 years of experience with the company. Credit: John West Foods

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John West Foods has announced the appointment of Kate Willoughby as its new commercial director.

The UK-based tinned seafood brand moved to promote Willoughby to the role following the announcement in March 2024 that former commercial director Mark Doherty would be taking over as managing director.

Doherty replaced Paul Stephenson as managing director, who left the organisation at the end of February.

Willoughby has been a grocery professional for over 20 years and has experience in both marketing and sales managing key retail customers.

For the last 11 years, she has worked in John West holding a variety of marketing and brand controller positions where she delivered key innovation projects, before moving into the role as commercial controller in January 2020 where she has managed a range of key accounts with her team.

Prior to joining John West, Willoughby held marketing and category manager roles with a variety of FMCG companies including Weetabix and Typhoo.

Founded in 1857, John West is owned by Thai Union Group and headquartered in Liverpool.

‘Promotion testament to Willoughby’s dedication’

Commenting on the decision to appoint Willoughby, Doherty said: “Kate’s promotion to Commercial Director John West is a testament to her dedication and commitment to our business.

“It is also a reflection on the good talent management work done by John West and our parent company Thai Union to realise the full potential of our people. Kate's commercial leadership will be vital in introducing the biggest packaging innovation our category has seen in the last 15 years. I am delighted to have her on our team and wish her all the best in her new role.”

Meanwhile, Willoughby added that the position was “one of the most exciting in the industry right now as we’ve got major innovation projects hitting the market later this year”.

“I’m looking forward to working with our retailers to fully leverage our partnership with ParalympicsGB supporting them on their road to Paris as their Official Protein Partner,” ​she concluded.

In other news, Vegan Food Group CEO Dave Sparrow discusses the firm’s mission to lead the plant-based category and put an end to intensive farming practices.

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