The hunt follows the departure of Seabrook Crisps MD John Tague who left unexpectedly at the end of August after more than three years with the company, it has emerged.
Tague joined the business in January 2008 as commercial director when annual turnover was £12m before being promoted to MD the following February. He was instrumental in establishing the family-owned brand in the major retail multiples and growing turnover to about £30m.
He joined Seabrook from Dextra Solutions, a European distributor of mobile accessories, where he was group sales director and acting joint MD.
Last August, Seabrook announced plans to build a multimillion-pound factory in 2012-2013 close to its potato suppliers and main retailer depots in or around Northamptonshire to drive sales and distribution beyond its northern England heartland. In December, it appointed Jon Wood as its new impulse trading controller to help with a major push into convenience.
An extra £6m funding from its bank HSBC this year has helped the company boost distribution in the south via new listings with Bestway and Dhamecha Group. The move into London's major cash & carry wholesalers came as the company stated its intent to achieve 100% availability in all impulse outlets nationwide and achieve an annual turnover of £63m by 2015.
"Both John Tague and the board felt that it was time for a fresh perspective to take the business through its next phase of growth and, as a result, the company has commenced a process to appoint a new managing director," said chairman, CEO and owner Ken Brook-Chrispin. "The board would like to thank John for all his efforts and wish him every success for the future."
Value sales of the brand have risen 17% over the past year to £39m and volume sales are up 9% [Nielsen 52w/e 3 September 2011].