Richard Harding is back at the helm as the new operations director of the BP/Safeway partnership. Harding has 12 years' experience at BP and was part of the launch team for the partnership back in 1996. It currently has 40 mini supermarket and petrol forecourt sites across the UK offering 24 hour opening. Harding has concentrated on retail for the past eight years with various managerial roles taking him as far afield as South Africa and America. He was most recently regional operations manager for BP Amoco in Nashville. Harding said: "I'm delighted to have the opportunity to be involved in the partnership again. It has proved to be a very successful venture for both partners." FROM SOUP TO SHIPPAM'S Simon Bell, former md at New Covent Garden Soup Company has been appointed sales and marketing director at Shippam's, the spreads and ready meals producer. Bell had been at New Garden Garden since 1994 during which time he took the brand into foodservice and launched several new products. In his new role Bell will aim to expand Shippam's brands through new product development. Shippam's chairman Steven Joseph said: "Simon has a proven track record in building brands and launching new and exciting products, both of which he will be able to continue with at Shippam's." GROUP MD FOR WILLIAM GRANT William Grant & Sons has appointed Patrick Thomas as new group md with responsibility for all of the company's UK and overseas operations. Thomas has been a non executive director of William Grant & Son since November 1994 and will take up his new role in April. He succeeds Glenn Gordon who stepped down last December but remains as a non executive director. Tony Hunt, marketing director at William Grant & Sons, has been promoted to md of the group's international branded goods company. He has worked for the company for 17 years and has been running its overseas distribution business for the past three years. FURSE PROMOTED AT BULMER'S Bulmer's group chief executive Mike Hughes has restructured the company and in the process has promoted commercial director Tim Furse to md of UK operations. His remit is to give the UK business an extra external focus with more emphasis on servicing both at customer and consumer level. Furse, 44, has been with Bulmer's since 1989. He joined the cider maker and beer agency from Grand Metropolitan Brewing where he was brands marketing director. CHIEF EXECUTIVE FOR MILKLINK Milk Marque's regional successor in the south, Milklink, has appointed Barry Nicholls chief executive. A former Unigate executive, Nicholls is keen to bring the benefits of cost effective supply chain management to bear. He will be working closely with Milklink operations director Neil McFarlane. {{INSIDE BACK COVER }}