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EXCLUSIVE: All change at the top of JLA

Helen Ashton crop
Helen Ashton is the new CEO of JLA.

Stephen Baxter has stepped down as the CEO of catering equipment servicing specialist JLA.

He had been in the role for 8 years, during which time overall group revenue more than doubled, from £54.8m in 2011 to the latest reported turnover of £117.8m.

Baxter has now moved into a non-executive position and will continue to be involved in the business from an advisory position. His prior experience includes stints at Peel Ports Group, BAA and Black & Decker.

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To replace him, therefore JLA welcomed Helen Ashton as its new CEO on 2 January.

Her most recent role before JLA was as CFO of ASOS, the online fashion retailer, and prior to that has held various CEO, MD and FD roles in financial services including Barclaycard, Lloyds Banking Group and Capquest.

JLA’s chief commercial officer, Liam Grant, told Catering Insight: “The business is moving into a really exciting phase of growth, with a continued focus on how we can become the trusted partner of our customers, providing them with the peace of mind they are looking for in critical areas of their business.”

Last year the company was bought out by private investor Cinven, for an undisclosed consideration.

JLA has a significant presence in the catering equipment market, having itself bought out dealers including: Carford, Red Squared, CKM, Proton Washrite, Harmony Business & Technology, Comcat Engineering, and Newco Catering Equipment, and in 2017, manufacturer, DC Products.

The Ripponden, West Yorkshire-headquartered firm provides servicing solutions to more than 25,000 small and medium-sized enterprise customers in total, offering its ‘Total Care’ proposition, which combines equipment supply with guaranteed service response times for a contracted monthly fee.

Founded in 1973, JLA employs around 900 people, including around 300 engineers.

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Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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