Coral Rose, managing director of Country Range Group, is joining Fairway Foodservice on 1 September to succeed chief executive Chris Binge, who is retiring after more than 24 years with the group.
In the meantime, Rose (right), who is also chair of the FWD, is continuing to work remotely for Country Range Group on strategic projects.
Binge told Cash & Carry Management how the change came about: “I have been looking to retire for about 18 months. Our internal candidate Steve Jeavons (purchasing director) decided not to take the CEO role as he is looking to retire in a few years himself, and so we went through a process of over 200 applicants.
“We had a specific template of the skills and knowledge and experience we wanted, because foodservice is a different environment to retail, and a member buying group is a different organisation to other types of business because we have 20 independent-minded and entrepreneurial companies.
“The board was unanimous. Coral was outstanding. With her experience and qualifications, I think you would be hard-pressed to find a more suitable candidate.”
Binge (right) will become chairman of Erudus, a source of allergy, nutritional and technical product data. His role will not be hands-on; it will be more strategic and will be about the direction of the business.
Binge will leave Fairway Foodservice at the end of September, after a short handover period. That month, there will be a board meeting, the AGM and a two-day member meeting “so that gives a great opportunity for Coral to see the formal processes we go through,” he pointed out. After that, he will continue to be available, if needed, by phone or email to answer any questions about the Fairway business.
However, Binge also intends to do some travelling. “My son left his job when he was 27 and he and his girlfriend went round the world for two years. As soon as he started sending photographs and Instagram posts, I just thought ‘I want to do this!’ It hit home that I wanted to go to all these countries I haven’t visited and spend some time there. That’s the ambition.”
He adds: “Coral is not just a safe pair of hands. She’s got skills and knowledge that I don’t have. She has a different approach to many things, which is good. I think she will look at everything with different eyes, and blending her knowledge with what we’ve got already at Fairway, I think it will improve.
“The key thing for a chief executive is to be always thinking about what’s coming in a year’s time, what’s coming in three years’ time, what’s coming in five years’ time, and get businesses ready for that, and Coral’s got that vision.”
Published Date: April 1, 2022