Former Dairy Crest boss named as new chairman of Irn-Bru maker AG Barr

A former long-standing boss of Dairy Crest has been named as the new chairman of Irn-Bru maker AG Barr.

Mark Allen has been appointed as an independent non-executive director and chairman designate with effect from July 1, succeeding current chairman John Nicolson.

The soft drinks maker described Allen as a “highly experienced” director and board member boasting a “long and successful career across multiple sectors”.

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His early career in the police force sparked an interest in law and, after completing a law degree, he subsequently held a variety of corporate roles, initially with Shell Group and lately with Dairy Crest. where he was chief executive from 2007 to 2019, prior to the business being acquired by Saputo.

Irn-Bru maker AG Barr will be hoping for a summer rebound as lockdown measures ease and hospitality awakens from its enforced hibernation.
Irn-Bru maker AG Barr will be hoping for a summer rebound as lockdown measures ease and hospitality awakens from its enforced hibernation.

In addition, Allen has held non-executive roles at Howden Joinery Group, Dairy UK and bread maker Warburtons, as well as Norcros where he was chairman from July 2020 until April 2021. He is currently non-executive chairman of Halo Foods.

Cumbernauld-headquartered Barr, which is also behind the Strathmore and Funkin brands, told investors: “Mark brings a deep understanding of consumer goods to the board, as well as significant public company experience, all of which will be important as AG Barr continues to execute its strategy and growth plans.”

Analysts at house broker Shore Capital noted: “With such credentials we are very pleased to see this appointment, given that Barr is also a great British proprietary brand operating across the industry’s channels.”

Nicolson will step down from the group’s board prior to the next annual shareholder meeting in May 2022, following nine years as a non-executive director, seven of which have been as chairman.

Barr also announced that Zoe Howorth will join its board as a non-executive director, with effect from July 1.

She has had a successful career spanning a range of roles at Procter & Gamble, United Biscuits and the Coca-Cola Company, where she spent 16 years, culminating in her role as UK marketing director from 2010 to 2013.

Having completed eight years as a non-exec director, Pam Powell will stand down from the AG Barr board at the end of June as part of long-term succession plans.

Nicolson said: “I would personally like to thank Pam Powell for her valuable contribution over the past eight years in helping to shape the direction and performance of the business.

“I am delighted that both Mark and Zoe will be joining our board, both of whom bring a wealth of highly relevant experience and I look forward to welcoming them at this exciting time for AG Barr.”

Last month, the firm said it was looking to put some extra fizz into sales with “exciting consumer engagement and marketing activity” after reporting “encouraging” recent trading.

In a trading update to coincide with its annual general meeting, the group noted that sales at its core soft drinks business had been “relatively strong” since the start of the new financial year. That was despite lockdown restrictions being in place across much of the first quarter.

“As lockdown restrictions have eased we have seen a positive impact on both our sales volume and mix, with a shift back towards ‘drink now’, hospitality and leisure,” it told investors. The trading momentum was supported by “encouraging” product launches.

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Irn-Bru maker AG Barr promises extra fizz with 'exciting consumer engagement' af...

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