Thai-Union owned tinned fish giant to seek new managing director

Editorial Staff

Paul Stephenson, the managing director of tinned seafood giant John West, a subsidiary of Thai Union Group, has announced his departure.

Stephenson, who has spent four years at the helm of traditional seafood brand John West, is leaving.

The UK’s Companies House recorded the termination of his term as a director of the company on 23 February.

His tenure has been characterized by significant industry challenges and strategic responses with challenges ranging from the global pandemic to Brexit complexities, and extreme market inflation.

Despite these hurdles, Stephenson’s leadership has been pivotal in steering the company through these unprecedented times, as acknowledged by Thai Union in a recent statement.

The company faced declining sales in 2022 due to price increases caused by global commodity price rises, which also led to a drop in margins to 17.6% of sales.

In accounts filed in October, the company reported a significant decrease in operating profit and profit before tax compared to the previous year.

Operating profit for the year was recorded at £3.8 million, down 55 percent from £8.4 million the previous year, while profit before tax fell from £9.1 million to £2 million. European sales saw an almost 50% decrease, and despite a decline in UK turnover by 12.4%, the company’s UK market position remains strong.

The company has not yet announced a successor for Stephenson, but the search is underway.

Thai Union owns several prominent European seafood brands, including Petit Navire, Parmentier, and Mareblu, and has a majority stake in Rügen Fisch AG in Germany.


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