East Anglia: Bernard Matthews UK managing director in shock exit

Rob Mears at Bernard Matthews' Great Witchingham Hall headquarters

Rob Mears at Bernard Matthews' Great Witchingham Hall headquarters - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

A TOP boss at turkey-giant Bernard Matthews has quit the company, it has been revealed.

Rob Mears has stood down from his position as UK managing director after spending four years at the firm, which is based at Great Witchingham, near Norwich, and also has a major site at Holton, near Halesworth.

The company says that his responsibilities will be handed to group chief executive Noel Bartram who will take charge of the UK operations.

It comes as the company moved to restructure the senior management team, which will see Andy Simpson, group finance director, take charge of the European subsidiaries.

A spokesman for Bernard Matthews said its 2,000 staff had already been told about Mr Mear’s departure.

“We can confirm that Rob Mears has taken the decision to stand down as UK managing director,” a spokesman said.

“We would like to thank Rob for his contribution to the business over the last four years, and wish him every success in the future. The business is restructuring the senior management team.

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“Andy Simpson, group finance director, will oversee the European subsidiaries, while group chief executive Noel Bartram will take responsibility for all UK operations.”

Last November, the company announced that rising turkey sales in the UK had helped the group produce a £2million profit in the 12 months to July 2012.

The group said sales totalled £341.4m for 2012 – compared to £470.8m in the 18 months previously – while UK turkey consumption was up more than 4%.

Meanwhile, Bernard Matthews Oldenburg, its German subsidiary, had a difficult year due to a number of external factors, including the poor summer weather which hit barbecue sales, and rising raw material costs, while SáGa Foods, the Hungarian subsidiary, experienced increased input costs allied to relatively weak commodity meat pricing, and the continuing difficulties in the Hungarian economy.

However, despite reversing a £6.6m loss from 2011, the EADT/EDP Top 100 company said it remained cautious about its outlook for this year.

Mr Mears declined to comment.