Mark Aylwin at Booker

Bargain Booze owner Conviviality has appointed Booker executive Mark Aylwin to run the Matthew Clark business it acquired earlier this year in a reverse takeover.

He will replace Steve Thomson, who has been CEO of the wine wholesaler and distributor for ten years, as managing director.

Aylwin, who joins in January, has been in the food and drinks industry for more than 35 years, working in a number of senior positions at Booker Group, Blueheath, Safeway and Musgrave Group.

He has been with Booker for the past eight years, most recently as MD of Booker Retail Partners (formerly Musgrave Retail Partners), where he had responsibility for Budgens and Londis. He has also been in charge of Booker Direct, the delivered wholesale business, as well as being a member of the board.

Aylwin joined Booker from AIM-listed delivered wholesaler Blueheath, where he was CEO, after spending 20 years at Safeway, where he held senior roles in buying, operations, supply chain and logistics.

Conviviality CEO Diana Hunter said: “I am delighted to appoint Mark as managing director of our Matthew Clark business. He has a wealth of experience in food and drink wholesale and is ideally placed to develop the Matthew Clark business with our customers and suppliers.

“I am pleased with the progress we have made since the acquisition and the integration is ahead of plan. The key hires required to deliver our synergies are in place ahead of plan and all the teams in both businesses are working well together.

“I would also like to thank Steve Thomson for his contribution to Matthew Clark. Over the past 10 years Steve has led the business, and has presided over a period of significant growth. Steve was integral throughout the recent acquisition process while also ensuring that customers continued to receive the high level of service that they had come to expect from Matthew Clark.”

Aylwin added: ”I am delighted to be joining Conviviality at this exciting time in the company’s development. Matthew Clark is a great business and I look forward to working with my new colleagues to drive growth, whilst delivering outstanding customer service to the on-trade.”

Matthew Clark commercial director Ian Smith, who has been at the business for more than 37 years, also becomes deputy managing director with immediate effect. Steve Thomson will continue to work with the business on a consultancy basis on a number of key projects.