Sterling Supergroup has announced the appointment of Paul Lee as chief operating officer. He will replace Vanessa Cooper, who, after 20 years of working for the group (with the last 15 years as chief executive officer), is retiring at the end of January 2024.
Lee has worked in the food industry for the last 20 years, most recently as managing director of food broker Brands Direct.
John Whitechurch OBE, chairman of Sterling Supergroup, commented: “We are very sad to see Vanessa Cooper leave the business. She has successfully steered the group through many challenges, and the group owes a great deal of thanks to her for her excellent stewardship.
“Paul Lee’s appointment gives the group an opportunity for a different perspective. Paul has experience of developing and managing own-label contracts to a customer base of major multiples. This brings with it experience in business development, developing senior management teams, category management, NPD and buying experience within major multiples in both own-label and branded products. We are hoping that his experience will dovetail with our own existing experience and lead to the improvement of our group’s buying performance which will be to the benefit of all our members.”
Lee added: “I look forward to further enhancing the outstanding work Vanessa and her team at head office have done, especially over the last few years with the challenges the whole food industry has had to cope with. The next few months will be really busy getting know the supply base as well as understanding all our members’ needs, and with our Spring Show in March there is a lot for me to get my teeth into!”
Founded in 1966, Sterling Supergroup is a members’ buying co-operative, with 36 wholesalers and an annual turnover in excess of £380 million. The membership consists of family-owned wholesale companies located throughout the UK, supplying thousands of catering outlets.
The wholesalers within Sterling support a national promotion programme arranged by the head office but retain their individual identity.Published Date: December 18, 2023