UK chief out as Frima rings the changes

Frima is in the midst of a major strategic UK overhaul that has led to it parting company with managing director Vic Brown.

The multifunctional cooking equipment manufacturer confirmed to Catering Insight on Friday that Brown had recently left the company and it now plans to push all its business through the distribution channel.

Benoit Gourgues, who heads the UK support team at Frima International, confirmed: “Our UK office did a great job in terms of educating the market. Now that the Frima concept is accepted – as demonstrated by the launch of ‘me too’ versions from other manufacturers – we will be working with locally-based partners, rather than having a separate UK office.”

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Brown had been with Frima for less than two years, moving across from parent company Rational, where he had grown sales by 50% during his seven years in charge of the UK operation.

“Vic Brown has left, because there wasn’t the need for an MD – that function can be carried out from HQ in Switzerland,” said Gourgues. “However, there continues to be Frima people ‘on the ground’ in the UK, providing support for our partners and developing our business.”

Precise details of Frima’s strategy to fulfil UK business through its distribution partners haven’t been made available at this stage.

Gourgues said key distributors had “demonstrated their ability” to deliver sales of its flagship VarioCooking Centre, but refused to be drawn on how many local partners would be needed to cover the UK and which ones it has been working with to date.

“We will be talking to the market about this in the near future,” he said.

The latest changes at Frima come a year after the company shut an office in Chiswick and made two members of staff redundant.

At the time, Brown said Frima could no longer justify the cost of running the London office, especially as Frima’s team of regional sales managers have traditionally worked remotely.

Frima claims to have sold more than 10,000 units of the VarioCooking Centre globally and says its European business grew 25% last year. Gourgues described UK sales as “growing steadily”.

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