Renshaw owner Real Good Food (RGF) has appointed Steve Dawson – who helped to turn around the Bahlsen US business – as an independent non-executive director.
Described by RGF as an experienced specialist in food and beverage brands in the UK and in North America, Dawson is founder and managing director of BrandGrowth, a consultancy advising food and drink brands on how to achieve success. Its clients have included First Milk, Burton’s Biscuits and Bahlsen.
Dawson’s appointment follows a troubled time for RGF, which has been hit by a string of difficulties including the exit of founder and executive chairman Pieter Totté. The company has also issued a number of profit warnings and is improving its corporate governance and reporting after admitting standards had been below those investors “might reasonably expect”.
The turnaround has included raising additional funding and selling off parts including Garrett Ingredients and Haydens Bakery. RGF still owns cake decorating business Renshaw, Chantilly Patisserie and Brighter Foods, which recently announced investment in a new site.
“On behalf of the company, I am delighted to welcome Steve to the board. His extensive experience in both the USA and in food brands will undoubtedly prove to be very useful and will add significant value to the company,” said RGF CEO Hugh Cawley. “I look forward to working with him as we continue to improve the group’s performance.
Before founding BrandGrowth in 2016, Dawson was CEO of the US division of Walkers Shortbread from April 2007 to December 2015. Before that, he was managing director of Food From Britain North America for eight years.
In August 2016, Dawson was appointed as interim CEO of Bahlsen North America, with the aim of returning the business to profitability. In 2017, the business was stabilised, with operating losses cut by two-thirds, reported RGF.
When he left Bahlsen in May this year, the business was projected to break even and generate double-digit net sales growth by year-end.