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Vardis Supports Hovis

Vardis Proud To Support Hovis & The Gores Group, In Appointing Martyn Wilks As CEO


Former Dairy Crest MD Martyn Wilks has today joined Hovis Ltd as Chief Executive.


Wilks has been with Dairy Crest from 2007 to March this year, and Hovis said he been credited with developing Dairy Crest’s innovation capability and playing a “key role” in developing its brands. Wilks spent 20 years with Mars before joining Dairy Crest, in roles including president of the snackfood division of Masterfoods USA and MD of Mars, France. He also held commercial roles at United Biscuits and Cadbury Schweppes, where he began his career.

“Martyn has extensive experience in a business that is very similar to our own,” said Hovis Executive Chairman Nish Kankiwala. “He has strong relationships with our key customers and his innovation experience is a perfect fit for the ambitions we have to develop our business and grow the category.

“Martyn understands the challenging trading environment and has a proven track record for success in achieving growth by improving operational and organisational capabilities,” added Kankiwala. “He has effectively built brands and categories through innovation-driven strategies and I’m confident he will deliver sustainable growth for Hovis.”

Describing Hovis as an iconic brand, Wilks said he was looking forward to working in partnership with Kankiwala, the executive team and the board to grow the brand and the category. “I am joining the company at a time when Hovis has recently seen the strongest growth performance out of the three major bread brands in the UK and it is also currently perceived as the healthiest brand in the market,” he added. “With a foundation as strong as this, along with a dynamic and energised team, I’m thrilled to be part of the next Hovis chapter.”

Vardis is proud to support Hovis and the Gores Group again, having already placed the Hovis Executive Chairman Nish Kankiwala last year. 

Hovis employs 3,800 people at 10 bakeries, six flour mills and two regional distribution centres across the UK. It also makes Mothers Pride, Ormo and own-label baked products.

The Gores Group bought 51% of Hovis in a carve out from and joint venture with Premier Foods in April 2014.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, the Gores Group currently has approximately $3.5 billion in assets under management and is presently investing from Gores Capital Partners III, L.P. and Gores Small Capitalization Partners, L.P., which have approximately $2.1 billion and $300 million in capital commitments, respectively.

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