Palmer & Harvey


Palmer & Harvey CEO Tony Reed has gone back to his old stomping ground of One Stop to hire a new chief people officer.

Paula Byrne was appointed to the new role last month, having spent more than 10 years in HR roles at the Tesco-owned convenience chain. During that time she worked closely with Reed, who was One Stop MD for just over five years before joining P&H in October.

The Grocer understands that Byrne, who became people director for One Stop in September 2014, has a strong reputation for driving cultural change within a business.

P&H has also promoted Derek Elphick to the position of chief information officer. Elphick, who like Byrne has joined the board of directors, has been with the wholesaler for three years. He joined in August 2014 as IT production service manager. He became head of IT in November 2015.

Reed is currently in the middle of restructuring the management team at P&H, with a number of senior directors departing. The Grocer has learnt that group operations director Mark Leonard has left the business.

His exit follows those of executive deputy chairman Chris Etherington, group finance director Jon Moxon and Jim Newsome, strategy director of direct van sales.

The wholesaler declined to comment on the latest developments.

P&H is understood to have been put up for sale via professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers last month. The reports that it was on the market came after it completed its latest refinancing deal and secured a vital three-year extension to its Tesco contract, which is thought to represent 40% of its sales.

However, according to Sky News at the time, leading tobacco suppliers Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International decided to use the refinancing deal to “explore a change of ownership”.

Palmer & Harvey is currently owned by a combination of current and former employees. According to the latest available figures, P&H’s pre-tax losses doubled from £8.5m to £17.3m in the year to April 2016. EBITDA also fell from £35m to £21m.