Mick Montague (left); Mustafa Kiamil, JJ Foodservice CEO (centre) and Huseyin Kiamil (right)

JJ Foodservice chief transport officer Mick Montague has retired after 34 years in the business.

Montague was the longest-standing member of the JJ senior team, joining the wholesaler after meeting CEO Mustafa Kiamil in 1989. The two remain close personal friends.

As chief transport officer, Montague was instrumental in co-ordinating the opening of the foodservice specialist’s first branches across the UK.

He also worked closely with Kiamil to design JJ’s current Enfield headquarters, after overseeing an initial relocation from Hornsey to Tottenham Hale.

The business said Montague had successfully managed the transport team and driver network through a period of rapid growth.

In addition, he designed the blueprint for all of JJ’s future vehicles.

“Mick is someone I could always trust. We are great friends and his mechanical mind helped to design a strong blueprint for our transport department,” said Kiamil.

“He kept it simple, and it worked. We were a good team. For 34 years, he never let me down.”

Montague said: “I used to go swimming with Mustafa three times a week. He’d do a few lengths and come out with five years’ worth of ideas and work.

“He never sat in an office – he drove the business from the front. We all rolled our sleeves up and dived in together.

“That’s the human side of the business – two people standing in a heated pool at night in the cold, talking about the plans and how many branches to open.

“In the East End, we used to call people like Mustafa a ‘lucky face’. Did we know what we were doing back then? No. But we had fun learning along the way.”