Former M&B and Greene King purchasing chief joins kitchen house

Airedale Printworks Leeds

Former Mitchells & Butlers and Greene King procurement chief Barry Acton has swapped the end-user market for the catering equipment side of the business by joining Airedale Group.

Acton, who also worked for De Vere Hotels and has been responsible for category spend budgets in excess of £150m over the past 15 years, takes on the newly-created role of head of group commercial strategy at the Bradford-based project and design house.

He will be familiar with many of the kitchen manufacturers that Airedale works with having previously had overall purchasing authority for more than 350 suppliers in his past roles.

Acton said: “Airedale has a very strong and clear vision. The investments it has made to date have delivered sustainable growth and a strong platform to build on. Over the last five years, Airedale has proven to be one of the most progressive, trusted, and best performing brands in its industry and I am delighted to be joining them.”

Rob Bywell, CEO of Airedale, said that Acton has gained significant knowledge and understanding of both the catering sector and other related contractor sectors and as a result has built strong relationships with a wide range of suppliers.

“Barry brings a keen knowledge and understanding of client approach and strategy, which will be critical in helping us to enhance our offering. Barry will be involved in a number of key strategic and commercial projects for the group.”

Additionally, Airedale has strengthened its senior management team further with the appointment of David Meltham as group finance director.

Meltham is a chartered accountant with 25 years of board level experience in finance, commercial and operations functions within large publically-listed organisations and fast growing private equity-backed businesses.

Most recently, he was group finance director at the Vita Group, an international manufacturing business with sales of £600m and 2,500 staff.

Meltham stated: “I am delighted to be joining Airedale. It is a business with a proven track record and an expansive growth agenda. I am looking forward to working with the team and believe we can make a real and significant contribution to shaping Airedale’s future success.”

Andrew Bristow, chairman of Airedale Group, added: “Our plan over the next few years is to continue to invest in developing the Group both organically, through collaboration and, if appropriate, by acquisition where we believe these can add value to what we do. These appointments demonstrate management’s commitment to supporting a long-term investment plan.”

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