Movers & Shakers: Former Aspall cider chief Des Smith becomes MD at Skinner’s

Des Smith, Skinner's. Picture: SKINNER'S

Des Smith, Skinner's. Picture: SKINNER'S - Credit: Archant

Stradbroke-based pet food manufacturer Skinner’s, has welcomed former Aspall Cyder boss Des Smith as its new managing director.

Des joins the company after 10 years at Debenham-based Aspall, where he was appointed managing director in 2011 and then chief executive officer in 2012.

During his time at Aspall, the business grew from a turnover of £11m to £40m and he was actively involved in raising new investment for the company which culminated in its recent sale.

Des will take over the reins from Greg Panter, who will be taking on a new role as executive chairman.

Greg said: “I am delighted to welcome Des to the business. He is extremely well respected within the food and beverages industry and was responsible for growing the Aspall business by almost £30m. Skinner’s have ambitious growth and development targets over the coming years and I firmly believe that Des is best placed to take our business to the next level”.

Des said he was “thrilled” to be joining the team.

“I was initially attracted to the role because of its family run heritage and opportunities for growth. I actually grew up in Stradbroke, very close to the Skinner’s mill, so have always had a lot of respect for the company,” he said.

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“I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to lead the business on the next stage of its development”.

Skinner’s has also appointed Hiedi Hutchinson as marketing manager. Hiedi, who has most recently held senior marketing and PR roles in the cruise and travel industry, will be taking over the marketing reins from Gabrielle Putt, who will be leaving the business at the end of March to follow her heart to Africa where she will be joining her partner James. The Skinner’s family wish Gabrielle the very best on her new adventure.

•Bury St Edmunds law firm Greene & Greene Solicitors has appointed Stuart Hughes as its new managing partner, in the 125th year of the firm.

Stuart joined Greene & Greene in July 2012 and is a specialist family lawyer and head of the family and matrimonial department. Stuart has more than 20 years of experience specialising in family law and is well regarded for his ability to handle all aspects of relationship breakdown, divorce, separation, finances and disputes concerning children. He is an accredited family law specialist, member of Resolution, mediator and collaborative lawyer.

Stuart said: “I am very much looking forward to my additional role at Greene & Greene and would like to thank Simon Ratcliffe, who has done an excellent job as managing partner for the past three years. Thanks also to my fellow partners for their support and their vote of confidence. We have just begun our 125th anniversary celebrations, having originally been established in Bury St Edmunds in 1893, and the team of 80 lawyers and support staff have big plans for the year ahead. This is an exciting time for the whole firm.”

Simon Ratcliffe, will continue in his role as head of the firm’s company commercial team, specialising in the acquisition, disposal and reorganisation of businesses.

•Norwich-based insurer Aviva has appointed Colm Holmes, currently chief executive officer of Aviva UK General Insurance, as president and chief executive officer of Aviva Canada. He will also continue to lead Aviva’s Global Corporate and Specialty business.

Greg Somerville is stepping back from his role as president and chief executive Officer of Aviva Canada to become a non-executive director of Aviva Canada.

Rob Townend, currently Aviva’s UK claims director, has been appointed managing director of Aviva UK General Insurance.

In his new role Rob will report to Andy Briggs, Aviva UK Insurance chief executive officer. Rob will focus on driving continued excellence in general insurance, particularly in product design, pricing, claims and underwriting to provide customers with the insurance that best protects them, their families, their businesses and the things they value.

Phil Bayles will continue in his role as managing director of UK Intermediaries, taking on the additional responsibility for leading the trading strategy. Rob and Phil will work closely together to drive profitable growth for the general insurance business to maintain a strong market presence.

Patrick Tiernan, currently Aviva chief financial officer of Global Corporate and Specialty, will move to the new role of managing director of Global Corporate and Specialty, UK and Europe.

Andrew Morrish, currently Aviva’s UK Motor Claims and Technology director, will move to the role of UK GI Claims director.

UK appointments are subject to regulatory and appropriate board approvals, and will become effective following a transitional period.

Andy Briggs, CEO UK Insurance, said: “Under Colm’s leadership, Aviva’s UK general insurance has gone from strength to strength. He has been responsible for driving strong growth in both revenue and profit, as well as achieving high customer satisfaction and developing new insurance products that help our customers manage the risks of everyday life.

“These appointments reflect the quality and depth of our management team across Aviva. I’d like to thank Colm for his contribution to our UK business, and I look forward to continuing to evolve and simplify our UK business around the changing needs of our customers.”

•Bury St Edmunds-based power tool manufacturer Festool has increased its UK team with seven new members joining its Suffolk headquarters.

Jamie Bunting is now logistics team leader and joins after 13 years at Kuehne + Nagle where he ran a logistics team that supported the servicing of the MODs fleet of Apache helicopters.

Holly Hyde-Smith is marketing communications executive and brings with her a wealth of experience having been the marketing manager for global SaaS company EMEA and part of the marketing team for the retail sector of a technology consultancy.

Two new starters, Martin Ive and Daryl Herbert-Smith, have joined the sales team as territory sales managers

Daryl gained several years of experience at various flooring businesses including his last role as Contracts Area Sales Manager at SIG Group Carpet and Flooring, where he supplied flooring to contractors and end users including Bovis Homes and Vinci and Bam.

Three new positions have been created in the finance team: business administrator Elaine Phillips, management accountant assistant Olga Snitsarenko, and general administration assistant Emma Butler.

Marketing manager Jon Burcham said: “The quality and innovation of Festool’s products is renowned and the team that support the cutting-edge technology is also second to none. We are thrilled that our ranks have been increased by top-notch experts in their fields. This is as a response to a brilliant year that we’ve seen – we expect that 2018 is going to be just as buoyant.

“Festool has been experiencing incredible growth in the UK market. The new recruits each bring impressive expertise and we’re excited to continue expanding our market presence.”

•Johnathan Reynolds, director of energy and innovation consultancy group Nautilus Associates, has joined the board of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

Johnathan has been a director at Lowestoft-based Nautilus Associates since 2010, leading a professional team working with start-ups and social enterprises to multinational firms and government bodies across all areas of clean growth, technology commercialisation and strategy development.

He is also business development lead for OrbisEnergy, the region’s flagship innovation hub for offshore renewable energy, managed by Nwes. Since opening, the hub has helped to create a world-leading offshore wind cluster on the East coast, creating more than 1,100 new jobs and enabling more than £7bn of investment in major projects, buildings, and businesses.

Prior to joining the Nautilus team, Johnathan held senior positions at the East of England Development Agency and the East of England Energy Group.

He is currently a member of New Anglia LEP’s Innovation Board leading on the energy sector and previously chaired the implementation of the LEP’s Green Economy Pathfinder programme, recognised as a national exemplar in driving sustainable economic growth and stimulating low carbon innovation.

Chairman Doug Field said: “I am delighted to welcome Johnathan to the board. In his roles with the Science and Innovation board and Green Economy Pathfinder Johnathan demonstrated the hard work, drive and talent which will make him a valued addition to the LEP.

“Energy is one of the key sectors in the Norfolk and Suffolk Economic Strategy and provides huge opportunities for future growth and expansion. Johnathan’s expertise will be invaluable as we work to deliver the Strategy in the coming months and years.”

Johnathan said: “Being selected to join the LEP board is huge honour and I look forward to sharing my expertise and working with board members, the executive team and our business community in driving the continued growth of the region’s economy.”

•Evans Halshaw Car Store Ipswich, which is set to open soon at the town’s Futura Park, has chosen a successful businesswoman to head up its business operations.

Serena Richardson is the new head of business at Car Store Ipswich and brings a wealth of experience and personality to the new used-car retailer. She was born in Ipswich, grew up in The Crofts area and has lived in the town ever since.

She has 13 years of experience in the automotive industry, starting out with selling cars and working her way up to sales manager at the age of 26. She was named Brand Manager for Marshall Kia Ipswich and was promoted to general manager of Marshall Vauxhall Ipswich four years later.

Serena said she was looking forward to her new role.

“Car Store Ipswich is a very exciting proposition as I believe it offers something different to everyone else,” she said.