Martin Ward appointed new Chief Executive of the Country Range Group
The Country Range Group has announced that Martin Ward has been appointed as the new Chief Executive and will officially begin his role on October 1, 2022.
Ward has been with Lancashire-based CRG for over 20 years and first joined in 2002 as a Foodservice Buyer where he played a key role in the development of the Country Range brand. He became Trading Director in 2015, where he has successfully helped the Group to not only cement its place as the leading foodservice buying group in the UK & Ireland but ensure it remained head and shoulders above the competition.
Martin Ward said: “I am delighted to be appointed the new Country Range Group Chief Executive and am truly excited about the opportunities ahead for our members and the Group as a whole. It’s been an incredibly tough last few years and turbulent times may lay ahead but if I have learnt anything in recent times, it’s that our Group has the resources, creativity, resilience and most importantly – the amazing people within our teams, to face and conquer anything thrown at us. I have learnt so much from our members during my time and am passionate about the Group retaining its place as leaders in our industry for many more years to come.”
When it comes to the initial key focus areas as Chief Executive, Ward commented: “We have a busy period coming up with our annual ‘An Evening with…’ event taking place at St Paul’s Cathedral in December bringing an end to our 30th anniversary celebrations, the launch of the Country Range Student Chef Challenge 2023, some exciting new product launches for Christmas, as well as planning for 2023 all on the horizon. Fortunately, I have a fantastic team supporting me which includes our Head of Trading Dean Pendlebury, Head of Marketing Emma Holden and our Commercial Controller Katrina Crabtree, as well as an enthusiastic and motivated board and members who creatively collaborate to ensure we remain the best at what we do.
“We have ambitious plans over the next few years to reach a target of £1billion in sales turnover so we have highlighted four strategic areas that we need to focus on as a Group and individually: scale, sustainability, data and the development of the Country Range brand. Our mission is still “to ensure our members achieve a faster and more profitable growth by being a member of our group” and I strongly believe that by achieving these strategic goals we will do this.”
Commenting on Ward’s appointment, John Gould, the longest-serving Country Range Group Board Member and Managing Director of Turner Price Ltd, said: “A huge congratulations to Martin on becoming the Group’s new Chief Executive. It wasn’t a difficult decision as we knew we had one of the best trading directors in the industry already in our ranks. Martin knows the members and Group inside out and his detail and knowledge when it comes to buying is second to none. We know he has the skills, determination and tenacity to succeed at whatever he does, so we’re delighted he accepted the role.”
About the Country Range Group
With over 30 years of heritage servicing the UK & Ireland’s innovative foodservice sector, the Country Range Group is made up of 12 independent wholesalers – Birchall Foodservice, Blakemore Foodservice, Caterite Foodservice, Creed Foodservice, Dunns Food and Drinks, EFG Foodservice, Harvest Fine Foods, Henderson Foodservice, Savona Foodservice, Thomas Ridley Foodservice, Trevors Foodservice and Turner Price.
In addition to offering the leading brands from around the globe, the Group also provides over 800 products, all developed exclusively for professional caterers under the Country Range brand. Covering grocery, chilled, frozen and non-food, Country Range is widely recognised by caterers as a trusted and reliable brand delivering consistent quality and value for money without compromising on taste and flavour.
The Group also publishes its trade magazine Stir it up 10 times a year, which features the latest food, drink and industry news, Country Range brand promotions and in-depth trend reports and sector specific guides to support and inspire all foodservice caterers.