Emma Vass

Emma Vass

Wessanen has named Emma Vass as its UK chief executive, a year after the departure of previous CEO Patrick Cairns.

Vass has 20 years experience in fmcg, most recently as UK general manager of herbs & spices supplier McCormick, where she worked for almost three years.

She previously spent 13 years at Danone Dairy, first working in a number of national account management roles before rising to UK commercial director. She has also held NAM positions at Premier Foods and worked in sales for Mars Confectionery.

In her new role at Wessanen, Vass will be focused primarily on driving growth across the Whole Earth, Kallo, Clipper Teas and Mrs Crimble’s brands, while increasing market share and awareness in the core sectors each operates in.

Her appointment will see Gill Green step down as interim UK CEO and return full-time to her role of Wessanen UK marketing director. She took up the temporary post in February 2017 when Cairns left Wessanen to become chief executive of Charlie Bigham’s.

Vass said she was excited to join such a “dynamic and pioneering business” as the Netherlands’ Wessanen. “The authenticity of the brands here in the UK truly resonates with today’s consumers, who are looking for honest, natural brands they can connect with.”

Her arrival at Wessanen comes as it unveils its new corporate vision, Connecting to Nature, aimed at increasing focus on sustainability and nature.

The company intends to improve its environmental outputs, increase the health credentials of its products, build on its ethical supply chain and introduce more diversity and agility into the way the company operates.

Vass will work closely with the Wessanen team in the Netherlands to implement the new guidelines across the UK.

The industrialisation of food had “broken a vital link between humans and the food we eat” said Wessanen group CEO Christophe Barnouin. “So rather than hope that more complex science will fix the problem, we believe the answer lies in connecting to nature.”