Blog: Dean BestUpfield Foods, home to ex-Unilever spreads assets, makes notable appointment

Dean Best | 20 July 2018

UK food-industry veteran David Salkeld is to take a senior position at Upfield Foods, the newly-instituted business that is home to Unilever's former spreads assets.

Salkeld, who has worked for UK manufacturers Symington's and Grampian Country Foods Group, as well as dairy giant Arla Foods, is to lead Upfield's business across 15 countries, including the UK, Sweden, Russia, Australia and New Zealand.

“Over the past 25 years David has built a distinguished track-record of delivering shareholder value in the international food industry and I’m delighted he has decided to join the company as we shape our path for future growth as an independent business,” Upfield CEO David Haines said.

Upfield is the new business set up by KKR to house and run the spreads assets the private-equity firm acquired from Unilever for EUR6.83bn (then US$8.04bn) in a deal announced in December and closed earlier this month.

Haines, a former Vodaphone, Mars and Coca-Cola executive, joined Upfield as CEO after a stint leading Japanese bathrooms business Lixil Water Technology Group. He joined its parent, Lixil, after the Japanese building materials business acquired German bathroom fittings company Grohe Group in 2013. Haines had been Grohe CEO for a decade.

Upfield's CFO is Jesper Andersen, who was the finance chief at Nivea owner Beiersdorf for three years from spring 2015 after joining from Colgate-Palmolive.

The company, which markets spreads under brands including Flora, Becel and Country Crock, operates in 95 countries.

Salkeld has held a number of chairmanships at UK firms over the last 18 months, including at Wensleydale Dairy Products and protein-focused business Muscle Foods.

He spent more than ten years as CEO at UK food manufacturer Symington's, the owner of brands including Mug Shot pasta, Naked Noodle and Ilumi free-from ready meals.

just-food analysis from December 2017: What will KKR do with the former Unilever spreads division?

just-food interview from January 2018: "We are doing so many things differently" - CEO John Power on the upturn in fortunes at Symington's and its prospects

Sectors: Dairy, Free-from


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