The Young’s Seafood boss who oversaw hundreds of job cuts at the company’s Fraserburgh factory has quit his post.
Pete Ward, who was the international group’s chief executive of UK operations, “wishes to pursue opportunities” to promote the wider seafood industry, Young’s said yesterday.
Group CEO Bill Showalter has taken over the UK leadership on a temporary basis, in addition to his other duties, until a permanent replacement is found.
Mr Showalter said: “I’d like to thank Pete for his contribution to Young’s.
“Under his leadership, we have been able to build a strong business, develop a great leadership team, establish Young’s virtual integration strategy and complete the company’s strategic review.
“The company is the number one UK seafood processor, and Pete’s vision and drive have been invaluable in achieving this success.”
It was Young’s operational review and “virtual integration strategy”, as well as the loss of a major salmon contract with grocery giant Sainbury’s, which left its plant in Watermill Road, Fraserburgh, facing a battle for survival.
The factory looked doomed late last year and only escaped closure after hundreds of jobs were axed among the 900-strong workforce.
Budget chain Aldi later transferred some of its salmon processing to Young’s from Marine Harvest, creating new business for the slimmed-down operation.
But there was no saving Young’s Spey Valley Smokehouse operation at Grantown.
It had also faced an uncertain future after the loss of the £100million Sainsbury’s contract.
Nearly 25 staff at Grantown seemed to have won a reprieve when Young’s announced it was to consider “alternative options” for the leased site, but it abandoned the plant after failing in its bid to buy the premises from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
In a statement announcing the change at the top at Young’s yesterday, Mr Ward said: “Young’s has been a huge part of my life for the past 38 years.
“My commitment to the seafood industry and the local communities in which we are located continues to be important to me. I will now be able to dedicate more of my time to these priorities.”
Young’s said its strategic review, led by Mr Ward, had focused the business on “driving top line growth through new commercial strategies, innovation and a greater emphasis on foodservice and exports”.
It added: “Having put the plan into action, championed the company’s virtual integration strategy and established a strengthened and expanded operating board capable of delivering the company’s new strategy, Pete now wishes to pursue opportunities outside of Young’s to promote the UK seafood industry as a whole.”