> Meet our Board

Nicholas Oughtred - Chairman

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As Chairman of the Group Board, Nicholas is responsible for communicating with shareholders, managing the Group’s property portfolio and insurance arrangements and, most importantly, ensuring our culture is properly understood and our values upheld.

Nicholas, who is the great great grandson of the business’s founder William Jackson, is a graduate of Stirling University where he obtained a BA Honours in Business Studies with Economics. He joined the William Jackson Group in 1983 holding various roles before being appointed Group Company Secretary in 2003. He was made a Director of the Group Board in June 2006 prior to becoming Chairman in January 2007.

Norman Soutar - Chief Executive

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As Chief Executive Norman is responsible for the performance of our businesses and the development of the Group. He works closely with our Managing Directors, focussing on the strategic plan, and invests time in developing talent to ensure we have the best team in place both for now and the future.

Norman, who studied the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School, joined WJFG in September 2006 with 12 years’ experience in the food industry. His previous roles include managing director appointments at Baxters Food Group and Strathaird Salmon, and senior commercial posts at Ross Breeders and the corporate office of Hillsdown Holdings Plc. Prior to joining the food industry Norman spent fourteen years as an officer in the British Army.

Gary Urmston - Chief Financial Officer

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As Chief Financial Officer, Gary is responsible for the financial robustness of the Group. He ensures we have sufficient funds to support our growth plans and that an appropriate corporate governance framework is in place throughout the Group. Gary works closely with subsidiary finance directors in developing our financial capability.

Gary, who has also studied the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School, joined the Group in August 2009 after three years with Northern Foods plc. Prior to this he worked for British Vita plc and KPMG.

Paddy Mountifield - Non-Executive

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Paddy joined the Group Board in September 2012 and is a sixth-generation family member. He also sits on the Group’s Charity Committee. One of Paddy’s main roles on the Group Board is to oversee the way in which we do business, ensuring we operate in line with the family constitution.

He owns a tree surgery business, which is based near Hull and covers the Midlands and North of England, and holds directorships for two separate property businesses.

Sarah Wyse - Non-Executive

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Sarah Wyse was appointed to the Group Board in October 2013. She has extensive experience in marketing and publishing in the UK and USA.

Her early career was as a magazine publisher working in diverse sectors, from motoring to photography. In her agency life she worked with brands such as Sears, MIGROS and Tesco, building data-driven loyalty programmes and gaining a knowledge of food retailing in many countries. More recently Sarah has worked with the UK’s leading banks, lending her marketing expertise to improve client focus.

Allan Wheelwright - Non-Executive

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After retiring from his position of Group HR Director in October 2013, a position he held for more than 20 years, Allan joined the Group Board as a Non-Executive Director.

Allan joined the group in 1977 after gaining personnel experience at Deans Light Alloys Ltd and Armstrong Patents Ltd. He has overseen the people aspects of the many strategic changes and developments experienced by the Group over recent years.

Steve Newiss – Non-Executive

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Steve joined the Group Board in March 2015. He has 35 years experience in the food and grocery industry, both in domestic and international markets. As a ‘commercial specialist’ Steve has handled senior customer relations on local and global levels, and has spent most of his career with Kraft Foods before joining Burton’s Biscuits as part of their successful ‘turn around’ team.

Steve has been Chairman of the IGD, as well as a member of many industry bodies, including the Global Commerce Initiative, CIES and ECR Europe. He is also a non-Executive Director of Bart Ingredients and Lilly O’Brien’s Chocolates. At the 2014 IGD Food Industry Awards, Steve was presented with a ‘Life Time Achievement Award’ for his contribution to the UK Grocery Industry.

Sonya Eastaugh – Non-Executive

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Sonya joined the Group Board in October 2016 and is a
sixth-generation family member.

Sonya qualified as a veterinary surgeon in 2002 and has been working as a vet ever since. Having worked with both farm and small animals, she now specialises in reptile work. As a member of the management team at the Northamptonshire surgery where she works, Sonya is responsible for developing the team and ensuring the practice’s values and professional standards are upheld.