Head of Operations

Opportunity

Innocent Drinks is one of the most famous success stories within the UK consumer sector in the last 20 years with an iconic brand and culture that has allowed the business to grow year on year. The most substantial growth in the last two years has come from their continental European business where they have invested significantly in raising brand awareness and in launches of the juice range in multiple markets. These investments have paid dividends as Innocent are now Europe’s favourite little juice company but they have bigger ambitions and expect their whole portfolio to grow at over 10% for the next 5 years across Europe and other continents.

The Supply Chain is at the heart of the Innocent business; a centrally run, core operation that enables their success and growth. Innocent operates an outsourced, in control model that has delivered a resilient, agile and flexible service with cost efficiency. The business has also transformed their supply chain operation from a smoothie focused UK dominated production capability to a global supply chain operation servicing multiple geographies with multiple product ranges.

Eden Search & Select were retained by the Group Supply Chain Director to source a Head of Operations to lead this highly dynamic production network with a clear remit:

  • Continue to deliver excellent service and quality across Europe as the business grows and becomes more geographically spread
  • Deliver all the innovation requirements of the business (which will mean expanding existing capability and sourcing new partners)
  • Deliver substantial uplifts in capacity at the same time as optimising the location of this capacity to reflect the changing nature of the business
  • Retain, strengthen and keep engaged a high performing team

Our approach

Having led successful projects for Innocent for the last ten years, Eden Search & Select were uniquely positioned to execute this search and combine their deep sector knowledge with their proven track record to source candidates that fit the special culture and values of the business. Eden Search & Select moved quickly to engage with senior supply chain and operations candidates with significant experience in delivering change within the “outsourced but in control” model and presented an outstanding shortlist of candidates from companies including Asda and Mars. Despite candidates coming from a more corporate background, their experience in developing high performing teams and operating with partners across a pan European supply chain shone through at interview.

The results

Innocent moved quickly to secure one candidate that stood out with exceptional operations and project management experience within Asda/IPL and a track record of successful achievements within the UK, Europe, USA and Japan.  This experience and strong values fit with the business allowed the candidate to make an immediate impact with the supply chain team and support their colleagues as the business delivered another year of record breaking growth. More importantly, the appointment has allowed the business to focus on developing an exciting supply chain strategy that will deliver the business’ ambitious growth targets for the next five years.

Eden Search & Select and Innocent Drinks continue to work in partnership to identify and secure high performing talent across multiple functions of the business to support further growth. For more information on this project or opportunities within Innocent Drinks, please get in touch with David Macaulay at david@edensearch.co.uk

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