BARRY Chevallier Guild, partner at cider and vinegar producer Aspall, based near Debenham, has been appointed chair of the Vinegar Committee of Culinaria Europe, a European food association, in recognition of his substantial experience of the sector and long-standing commitment to the vinegar market in the UK.

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As part of his role he will also be on the Board of Culinaria Europe.

The Vinegar Committee of Culinaria Europe supports producers by voicing its members’ interests and concerns to the European Commission and Parliament.

It provides and monitors information on vinegar in the scientific, legislative, technological and economic fields and helps provide standards for the quality of the category.

Barry said: “I am delighted to have been elected chair of the Vinegar Committee of Culinaria Europe and am looking forward to both sharing my knowledge of the UK sector abroad, and benefiting the UK trade with my learnings from the Continent.

“Aspall has been at the forefront of cyder vinegar making in the UK for over 40 years and we are now the UK’s leading speciality vinegar producer. My appointment is a great opportunity to make a relatively small voice heard within the wider European community.

“My main objective is to raise the profile of vinegar production within the European Commission and ensure that there is a common definition for vinegar making. This will improve the quality of vinegar and consistency of vinegar sub-sectors throughout Europe. Retailers will have access to a greater range of vinegar with more consistent credentials; consumers will be able to expect a consistent product quality; and producers will be able to compete on a more level playing field.

“For example, we are in the process of ensuring a common definition for the standard of wine which can be used for vinegar production, to ensure that all wine vinegars are produced to the same standards under current legislation.”

Aspall is owned and managed by the eighth generation of the Chevallier family, producing a range of award-winning ciders, vinegars and apple juice, and is now the largest wholly British-owned speciality vinegar producer.

: : SOUTHWOLD-based creative agency Spring has welcomed Cora Benzie, a 22-year-old graduate from Surrey, who has joined as an account executive, after what might be the shortest internship on record.

Cora was just three days into her internship at Spring when they offered her a full-time position.

Having missed out on a job at Spring early in the summer, Cora made contact again months later, on the off-chance that it might have space for an intern. She was thrilled to be invited to Southwold for an interview. A week later she moved up to Suffolk and started work, and by the end of the first day her work was being approved by clients.

“She inspires confidence,” said operations director Simon Hazelgrove.

“Erika (Clegg, Spring’s founder) and I knew quite quickly that she was worth keeping.”

Cora hopes to stay at Spring for the foreseeable future, and is determined to keep improving her skills.

“I’m just happy to be here,” she said. “The work I’m doing is really enjoyable, so being paid for it feels like an added bonus.”

: : HASTINGS Insurance Group (HIG) has appointed Gary Hoffman as group chief executive.

This is an important addition to the management team, reflecting Hastings’ continuing growth in scale and profits. Since the buyout in 2009, Hastings, which has an office in Newmarket employing 200 staff, as well as in Bexhill-on-Sea in East Sussex, has been one of Europe’s fastest growing insurance companies. EBITDA was £35m in 2011 up 60% on 2010, and the business has maintained growth in profit for first 6 months to 30 June 2012*.

Edward Fitzmaurice will take on the role of executive chairman of Hastings Insurance Services, the main UK trading entity within the group, and will spend more time shaping the long term strategic direction of the business to help ensure the Group capitalises on the many opportunities within the marketplace.

Gary has held a number of senior positions in the UK financial services industry. He spent 25 years with Barclays where he was an executive director from 2004-2008 and group vice chairman from 2006-2008. He held a number of senior management roles in the retail bank, part of which was Barclays Life, including introducing telephone banking and running marketing and distribution. He was CEO of Barclaycard from 2001-2005 and then was made chairman of UK Banking and Barclaycard responsible for the worldwide card and UK Retail and Commercial Businesses.

At the height of the financial crisis Gary was asked to lead the successful rescue, stabilisation and restructuring of Northern Rock. Since 2010 Gary has been CEO of NBNK, a banking start-up formed to bid for the UK bank branches which Lloyds Bank is being forced to sell by the EU Commission.

His appointment has been approved by the Financial Services Authority.

Neil Utley, Chairman of Hastings Insurance Group, said: “I am delighted the opportunity has arisen for us to further strengthen our existing team with the appointment of Gary who brings exceptional experience to Hastings.

“The business continues to grow rapidly with many more customers continuing to switch to Hastings for the great service and value they receive, and his expertise gives us the additional management depth to help take our business to the next level.”

Edward Fitzmaurice, executive chairman Hastings Insurance Services, said: “It is great news that Gary is joining us as Group CEO. 2012 has been our best year yet – we passed our 1 millionth customer mark.”

: : IAIN Dunnett has joined New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) as operations manager and Marie Finbow is taking on the role of Green Economy Pathfinder project manager.

Iain was previously low carbon development manager at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, and already has significant experience of working with New Anglia through the Green Economy Pathfinder.

As operations manager, Iain will support programme director Chris Starkie in the leadership and management of New Anglia, and also be responsible for developing the LEP’s sector strategy. He will also continue to oversee the Green Economy Pathfinder.

Marie joins from Suffolk County Council where she is a Project Manager. Graduating with an MBA in 2010 from University Campus Suffolk, Marie brings with her extensive skills and experience, having undertaken a variety of managerial roles whilst working for the Council

She will work two and a half days a week with New Anglia, and will be responsible for managing the different work programmes of the Green Economy Pathfinder, which covers a diverse range of activities from the development of low carbon finance, support for business energy efficiency programmes and support to the newly launched Wild Anglia Partnership and brand.

Andy Wood, chairman of the New Anglia LEP, said: “I am delighted that we have secured the services of both Iain and Marie. As the LEP gains new responsibilities and delivers its plans, it is important that we have the right team in place.”

Iain and Marie will both be based at the offices of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce in Ipswich and at the Innovation Centre in Norwich Research Park. This is in addition to Emma Finn who is already located at the Bury St Edmunds office of MENTA, the Suffolk Enterprise Agency, thus providing a number of LEP contact points in Suffolk.

John Dugmore, chief executive of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “We have a really strong working relationship with the New Anglia LEP and we are delighted that the LEP is co-locating in our offices in Ipswich.”

: : NICOLA Tremain has been appointed co-ordinator for the KellyBronze Farmers franchise scheme which enables farmers to develop a new seasonal enterprise that benefits from the reputation of the premium Christmas turkey.

Nicola joined Kelly Turkeys at their Danbury, Chelmsford, office last year and takes over from Maiken Haaden who has retired after running the franchise since 2006. She has more than 10 years’ experience working in business administration, most recently with a building control company at Chelmsford.

She lives at Danbury and as a keen rider is a member of the East Essex hunt.

The KellyBronze franchise scheme was established in 1994 and now involves farmers in most areas of the country, providing a locally produced supply of the award-winning turkeys. This year four new farmers have joined the scheme and newcomers can now have their birds processed regionally rather than on the farm.

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