New CEO named for AF Blakemore

Wholesaler AF Blakemore has announced that Carol Welch will join as Chief Executive in April 2023

Carol joins the business from ODEON Cinemas Group where, as Managing Director UK & Ireland and Commercial Officer Europe, she has transformed ODEON’s customer and colleague experience, introducing Luxe recliner cinemas, new digital systems and more efficient operating models.

Carol brings a depth and breadth of experience from branded food and drink, retail, and foodservice, having held positions at Costa Coffee, Associated British Foods, Cadbury-Schweppes, and PepsiCo. She is also a non-executive director at Hammerson plc. She succeeds Jerry Marwood who is leaving to focus more time on his non-executive directorships and consultancy roles.

“I am thrilled to be joining A.F. Blakemore as CEO,” said Carol. “It is a fantastic business with a deep understanding of retail, wholesale and foodservice and an enviable values-led culture, fuelled by more than 7,000 colleagues and partners who are passionate about delivering great food and drink solutions. I’m excited to be working with the shareholders and team to deliver their business ambition.”

Chairman Peter Blakemore said: “We’re delighted that Carol is joining, she brings a wealth of experience from multiple sectors, a strong strategic vision combined with an approach aligned to the Blakemore Way and values.

“Carol joining sees the culmination of our CEO succession plan following Jerry’s decision to leave the business at the end of this financial year. Jerry has done an outstanding job for Blakemore’s over the last 11 years, handing over strong sales performance and a strategic plan that will help us to deliver the innovation and ambition that are hallmarks of our business.”

A.F. Blakemore recently announced sales for year ending May 2022 were £1.2bn and a 9% growth in the first 24 weeks of 2022/23. Latest data from their company owned retail estate highlighted a positive Christmas trading performance with 4-week LFL retail sales +7.7% to w/e 8 January 2023.

AF Blakemore Carol Welch new appointments Peter Blakemore