Airedale adds strategy and finance executives to management team

Airedale CEO Rob Bywell welcomed the appointments of David Meltham and Barry Acton.

Bradford-based distributor Airedale Group has appointed David Meltham as group finance director and Barry Acton as head of group commercial strategy, effective 4 September.

Rob Bywell, CEO of Airedale, advised: “David is a chartered accountant with 25 years of board level experience in finance, commercial and operations functions within large publically listed organisations and fast growing private equity backed businesses.”

Most recently Meltham was group finance director at the Vita Group, an international foam and plastic manufacturing business with sales of £600m and employing 2,500 employees across 36 sites in 14 countries. During his 10 year tenure he led a series of financial, commercial and M&A projects which are said to have delivered significant value.

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Prior to this, Meltham operated at senior levels within a number of organisations where, as part of the management team, he developed market leading businesses of size and scale. This included a £2bn turnover food group, which grew primarily through via an aggressive acquisition plan, to a FTSE listed technology business, and a number of smaller privately held companies.

Meltham stated: “I am delighted to be joining Airedale. It is a business with a proven track record and an expansive growth agenda. I am looking forward to working with the team and believe we can make a real and significant contribution to shaping Airedale’s future success.”

Also joining the group is Barry Acton in a newly-created role as head of group commercial strategy. Acton’s career to date has focused on supply chain management and procurement and he holds an MBA (dist) in strategy and procurement management, a BA in business studies and is a full member of the chartered institute of purchasing and supply (MCIPS).

Over the last 15 years, he has held senior management roles in a number of UK FTSE 250 companies, including De Vere Hotels, Mitchells & Butlers and Greene King, where he was responsible for category spend budgets in excess of £150m and had overall purchasing authority for more than 350 suppliers.

Bywell stated: “Barry has gained significant knowledge and understanding of both the catering sector and other related contractor sectors and as a result has built strong relationships with a wide range of suppliers.”

Acton commented: “Airedale has a very strong and clear vision. The investments it has made to date have delivered sustainable growth and a strong platform to build on. Over the last 5 years, Airedale has proven to be one of the most progressive, trusted, and best performing brands in its industry and I am delighted to be joining them.”

Bywell added: “Barry brings a keen knowledge and understanding of client approach and strategy, which will be critical in helping us to enhance our offering. Barry will be involved in a number of key strategic and commercial projects for the group.

“Having worked with both David and Barry previously I can say with certainty that they are both top operators in their chosen field and I have no doubt their experience, skills and passion will make us a stronger, better business.”

Andrew Bristow, chairman of Airedale Group said: “Our plan over the next few years is to continue to invest in developing the group both organically, through collaboration and, if appropriate, by acquisition where we believe these can add value to what we do. These appointments demonstrate management’s commitment to supporting a long term investment plan.”

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Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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