Adnams' chairman retires

THE head of one of Suffolk's most high-profile breweries has stepped down after 11 years at the helm.In that time, Adnams chairman, Simon Loftus, who has always stood out from the crowd with his trademark earring and colourful socks, has truly made his mark on the company.

By Sheline Clarke

THE head of one of Suffolk's most high-profile breweries has stepped down after 11 years at the helm.

In that time, Adnams chairman, Simon Loftus, who has always stood out from the crowd with his trademark earring and colourful socks, has truly made his mark on the company.

Mr Loftus left the Sole Bay Brewery on Friday, the eve of his 60th birthday, having transformed its fortunes and turned it into a values-led organisation.

He joined the business in 1968 with a Cambridge degree in History and Fine Art, taking a position in the wine department. There he built a renowned business and also became involved in the company's hotels and was responsible for the renovation of The Crown and The Swan.

He was elected chairman in 1995 and turned his attention to building the reputation of the company's beers and changing the culture of the company into a values-lead organisation.

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Since then he has made the much-loved local beer into a nationally respected brand, and started a programme of works which will enhance facilities in the brew house and establish an out-of-town distribution centre at nearby Reydon. Both developments will help make Adnams one of the UK's greenest brewing operations. There are also plans to build a new housing and retail complex on the site of the existing distribution centre once operations switch to the new facility.

“This is a great time for me to retire,” he said. “Adnams is approaching a point were it is completing a number of major projects that will be fantastically important to us and indeed to the neighbourhood and to the future.

“When I first came to Adnams what I most wanted to do was to try and build a sense of social value in the enterprise and to build on the relationship between the organisation and its local community, and while it is still not perfect, we have come a long way.

“I think Adnams is in great shape and it has got wonderful people working here. Absolutely the biggest pleasure of my whole working life has been the people and that's what I'll miss most but it also gives me tremendous confidence for the future. I can leave now with all these great projects in place, the organisation is in good shape, the brand is strong and we have a great team.”

And while he is retiring from the company he has plenty to keep him occupied, including overseeing the distribution site redevelopment. He is involved with Aldeburgh Music, the organisation that runs the Aldeburgh Festival and Snape Maltings Proms and is involved in various charities including the Suffolk Foundation and Adnams' own charity. He is on the board of First East, the regeneration company for Lowestoft and Waveney, and he is a writer, having published three books already with another still in the research stage.

Mr Loftus hands over to Jonathan Adnams.

* Read more about Simon Loftus' career at Adnams in the September edition of Suffolk Business magazine.