Taunton chief out in board reshuffle

Matthew Clark Taunton, the UK’s second largest cider maker, is making the managing director of the branded drinks division, Andy Nash, redundant. He will leave at the beginning of next year.

It comes as the company prepares to reverse its previous investment policy on marketing, recruit a main board marketing director and hire an extra 40 staff for the sales and marketing division. The moves follow a profits warning in September that said sales of its cider products in the five months after April were down by as much as 50 per cent on the previous year.

And it follows the decision two months ago to move marketing director of branded drinks Mike Ader over to the wholesale division.

The departure of Nash and Ader’s redeployment comes after Matthew Clark blamed the growth of alco-pop brands such as Hooper’s Hooch for its falling cider sales. However, the sales dip did not affect rival cider maker Bulmer in the same way, and Matthew Clark’s whole marketing policy was scrutinised as a result. The company has a history of withdrawing marketing investment from its brands, and this is thought to have contributed to a decline in sales in a market where investment in advertising is seen as crucial.

The appointment of a top-level marketing person could signal an increase in advertising investment in brands such as Diamond White, K and Babycham.

Nash became managing director after Matthew Clark’s acquisition of Taunton was given the go-ahead by the Office of Fair Trading in November 1995. He was previously commercial director at Taunton.

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