== What’s your job and what are your day-to-day responsibilities? ==
I was appointed in November 2007, following the acquisition of La Fornaia where I was sales, commercial and logistics director and a shareholder of the company. My role has changed significantly since joining Maple Leaf UK - from working with one manufacturing site to eight sites and with sales increasing sixfold. I therefore work very closely with the executive and management teams and on all sites to help grow and develop our business. One of my day-to-day responsibilities is to train and coach my national accounts managers in the commercial world of servicing all the top retailers. At the same time, I ensure I have a good working rapport with each retailer.
== How did you get into the baking industry? ==
By default! I joined La Fornaia in January 1996 for 12 weeks only, as an interim consultant manager, having owned my own food business for five years. Prior to that, I spent 25 years in food retail. During my first 12 weeks at La Fornaia, I saw so much opportunity in the premium speciality bread business and was so impressed with the people and the ethos of the company that I accepted their offer to stay.
== How has your career progressed? ==
In my early years I nearly became a professional footballer, but due to an injury, I shot into retail. At the age of 18, I became the youngest store manager in the country and progressed to a regional controller and superstore manager in London. During that time, I was involved in numerous acquisitions and mergers, training and coaching people.
== What’s the most important quality you need to possess to do your job? ==
A sense of humour and common sense! I’m a people person and I firmly believe communication is crucial to the success of any business. My open door policy means I’m always available and easy to approach. It may sound strange but my goal has always been to make myself redundant in a way, by empowering the people around me, so my focus is on developing people to achieve their ambitions and fulfil their full potential.
== What is the key to success in your area of expertise? ==
To provide first-class service to our customers by understanding their needs and forging working relationships for long-term success. A passion for both quality products and people is a must - this is what strong businesses are made of.