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New chairman Andy Slee: a "great privilege" to be leading a Yorkshire institution

Black Sheep founder steps down as chairman

It is all change at the very top of Black Sheep Brewery. Company founder Paul Theakston stepping down as chairman in favour of industry veteran Andy Slee with the business this week reporting a reduced like-for-like operating loss for its latest financial year.

Slee, who takes on the chairman’s duties this month, has been a Black Sheep non-executive director since 2016. He’s worked with a number of leading drinks brands over his 30 years in the industry, notably Coca-Cola, and most recently was external affairs and central operations director at Punch Taverns.

Paul Theakston will remain on the board as a non-executive director. And leadership of the business is being transitioned to the next generation of Theakstons, with sons Rob and Jo working as managing director and sales and marketing director respectively.

Slee described his appointment as a “great privilege” and noted that Paul Theakston’s continued presence on the board would be an asset for the business.

“It will be a great honour to work with Rob and the rest of the board, including Paul whose continued involvement will be a great asset to the company. He is the very DNA of Black Sheep and our collective experience, together with his wise guidance and counsel, will be important to the future success of Black Sheep Brewery.”

Slee becomes chairman with Black Sheep in organisational transformation and a business that at least for the past five financial years has recorded pre-tax losses.

In figures filed this week at Companies House, to year-end 31st March 2017 Black Sheep reported an operating loss of £437,000, including one-off costs of £280,000. The remaining operating loss of £157,000 was 43% less than the like-for-like figure of £276,000 from the previous year, providing some comfort for Black Sheep’s leadership.

Managing director Rob Theakston noted that the full fruits of a procurement project will become apparent in this year’s figures, as well as a minimum of £100,000 in overhead savings year-on-year.

“The challenge now is to build on the good work we have done so far, and continue to develop the top line sales,” wrote Theakston in his company’s year-end filing. “All the team are focused on delivering that, and we have started the new financial year in a positive fashion.”

Larry Nelson
28th September 2017


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