Source: Typhoo

Mike Brehme (pictured) will take the helm of Typhoo as executive chairman

Typhoo Tea CEO Des Kingsley is to step down.

Kingsley, who has held the role for three years, will be replaced by Mike Brehme, currently the business’ chairman. Brehme’s new title will be executive chairman. Brehme was a co-founder of Clipper Teas.

“With the recovery of Typhoo Tea well underway, I have decided that now is the time for me to step down from my role”, he said, adding it had been a “huge honour and privilege to have played a part in turning around the fortunes of one of Britain’s best-loved tea brands.”

Kingsley’s departure comes after a tumultuous period for the brand, which in 2019 fell to a £20m loss after what it called “one of the most challenging trading periods in recent history” thanks to a sharp rise in the cost of key raw materials, as well as Brexit-related uncertainty, adverse currency movements, and a wider decline in the black tea market.

It was still in the red over the year to 31 March 2020 – the most recent period covered by its publicly available financial documents – but its losses were reduced to £11.6m from £26.3m. In 2021 it sold a majority stake to PE firm Zetland Capital. 

Speaking to The Grocer later that year, Kingsley credited the company’s improving fortunes to a massive range rationalisation project and the end of “loss-making contracts”, and said it was hoping to return to profit.

He will depart in October, “to enjoy more time with his family, complete renovations in his Irish home and realise his dream to travel across the States” before seeking non-executive roles, said Typhoo.

Brehme said he expected the coming two years to be “defining” for the brand in the UK and abroad. “Typhoo Tea is an iconic brand and we have big plans in the pipeline to ensure it remains an integral part of what makes us a nation of tea lovers.”