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17th October 2016

Palmer & Harvey (“P&H”), the UK’s leading delivered wholesaler, today announces the appointment of Tony Reed as Chief Executive, effective immediately.  P&H has also appointed Alistair Darby as non-executive Director.

Tony is highly experienced in the retail sector, having spent 38 years in the industry working for Tesco in a number of operational roles across different store formats.  In addition to store operations Tony spent four years in the Tesco Commercial Division.

In 2010, Tony was appointed as CEO of One Stop, Tesco’s owned and franchise convenience store chain, where his delivery of sector-leading growth led to him being tasked with creating the 'blueprint' for Tesco's convenience strategy both in the UK and internationally.  In early 2015, in addition to his role as CEO of One Stop, he was given the responsibility to lead the multi-billion pound businesses of Tesco Express and Tesco Metro formats.  Tony looked after 2,800 stores across the One Stop, Tesco Express and Tesco Metro formats.  During his time in this role he led a major operational improvement programme.

Alistair has wide-ranging experience of leading major businesses.  He was formerly Chief Executive of Mitchells & Butlers plc, a FTSE 250 operator of restaurants and pubs.  Before that he held a number of senior operational and strategic roles at Marston’s plc from 1997 to 2011, including a decade as a board director.    

These appointments add strength and depth to P&H’s board and senior management team in preparation for its next phase of development.  As part of strengthening the Board, and further enhancing its governance, Chris Etherington, currently Chairman and Chief Executive, will become Executive Deputy Chairman and Richard Grainger has been appointed as non-executive Chairman, following three years as a non-executive director.  Richard is currently chairman of McKay Securities plc, a publicly quoted commercial property investment company and Harrington Brooks, the debt management company. Previously he was chairman of Safestore plc and Chief Executive of Close Brothers Corporate Finance.  In addition, Stewart Oades will retire from his role as a non-executive Director in December 2016. 

Chris Etherington, Executive Deputy Chairman, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Tony as our Chief Executive.  His deep experience of the retail sector will be extremely valuable to Palmer & Harvey, as will his track record of driving growth, operational efficiency and his passion for developing people.

"Tony is ideally placed to drive our long-term strategy, further strengthen our customer proposition and embed our reputation for first class service.”

“The appointment of Alistair further strengthens our board, adding significant operational experience as we focus on delivering our strategy to the benefit of all our stakeholders.”

Tony Reed commented:

“I am looking forward to working with the strong team at Palmer & Harvey to drive the opportunities for growth, operational efficiency and service excellence that its unique scale, heritage, reputation for delivery and customer relationships present.  Having worked closely with Palmer & Harvey over the last four years I have always found it a reactive and responsive business to work with”.

Media enquiries:

MHP Communications                                   020 3128 8100                                    p&

Katie Hunt / Jamie Ricketts / Ollie Hoare                               

About P&H

  • 90 years of supplying the nation
    • Over the past 90 years, P&H has grown from two wholesale businesses – owned by Mr Palmer and Mr Harvey – into the UK’s leading delivered wholesaler, with unrivalled scale and commercial relationships which are very difficult to replicate.  This has been through organic growth and also through selective acquisitions (e.g. Walkers’ vans business in 2012, and KP McVities’ Snacksdirect business in 2000).
  • One of the UK’s largest private companies
    • We are the UK’s 5th largest private company
    • 100% owned by current and former employees – we have c.650 staff shareholders
    • We employ c.4,000 staff overall, and we service c.90,000 retail accounts in the UK
  • We are the UK’s leading delivered wholesaler
    • The UK’s leading delivered wholesaler of grocery products
    • Operating from 14 regional and 48 local depots across Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as two transhipment centres and one national distribution centre
    • Distributing every day to UK retailers is our core service
    • Our “multi-temperature” capability is key to our customers. Our ability to deliver frozen, short and long shelf life chilled and ambient products in the same delivery differentiates us from our competitors and embeds us with our customers
    • We are “small drop” specialists, catering to any size of order
  • Outsourced distributor and wholesaler for brands and major retailers
    • Our customers range from the local corner-shop and petrol forecourt to the UK’s largest multiple grocers
    • P&H offers manufacturers a broad channel to customers. This is through our ability to deliver into multiple grocers, symbol groups, independents and retail food service outlets, and was a key factor in Coca-Cola Enterprises’ decision to transfer all of their “direct to store” deliveries to P&H
  • We provide cost efficient, daily deliveries to every postcode in the UK mainland
    • Our scale delivers cost savings
    • Our shared user network delivers efficiencies
    • Our national presence means we operate within two hours of all of our mainland customers thereby providing a local service to nationwide businesses