Guy has a wealth of knowledge of the food sector, with a range of executive roles in food retailing spanning four decades.
He was a plc Board Director and Joint Managing Director of Marks & Spencer plc after which he was Chairman of Duchy Originals Ltd for seven years. More recently Guy was Chief Executive of Food Retail of The Co-operative Group where he led the transformation of the business culminating in the acquisition of Somerfield.
He was appointed Chairman of Branston in March 2010.
James Truscott (Managing Director) joined Branston as Sales & Marketing Director in 2013 and took over as MD in May 2015. James has extensive experience in the food industry, starting at Unilever before moving to RHM Foods and Kerry Foods, then spending eight years as Sales & Marketing Director of Natures Way Foods, with responsibility for operations and HR. In 2008, he moved to California to set up Wild Rocket Foods, which supplied most of Fresh & Easy’s fresh produce. James then spent three years as Category Director of Produce at Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets in America, before making the move back to the UK.
David Nelson (Agronomy Director) joined Branston as Potato Agronomist in 1990 and established our Field Services department, providing seed and technical services across the expanding Branston grower base which by then had reached over 140 Producer Group members. He also played a key role in developing overseas growers and expanding our procurement base. David is a member of several professional organisations, including the AHDB-Potatoes Research and Knowledge Transfer committee.
David graduated from Aberystwyth University with a degree in Agricultural Science in 1983 and then spent two years in research at the International Potato Centre, Peru. Returning to the UK, David continued in potato research, specialising in an industry-funded project on the agronomy of early-harvested processing potatoes, for which he was awarded a PhD in 1988. In that year he joined BEP Ltd as Potato Development Advisor, advising a group of over 30 potato growers across Hampshire and West Sussex.
Richard Clark (Commercial Director) joined Branston from the family farm in 1989 as a Buyer and has been with us, progressing through the ranks, ever since. Richard is responsible for our group-wide raw material procurement strategy, making sure that we satisfy all customer demands 52 weeks of the year. He also oversees the Seed division and our own farming enterprise, and is responsible for external non-retail sales, including processing and all other trading activities, to ensure that we maximise the value of the crop from our supply base.
Simon Telfer (HR & Logistics Director) joined Branston in 1996 as Production Manager and a year later relocated to Somerset to manage our newly acquired site in the South West. In 2001, he moved back to Lincoln, completed a Masters in Human Resources Management and took on responsibility for Human Resources & Logistics for the whole business. Simon holds the Certificate of Professional Competence for Transport Operations for the Lincoln and South West sites. He is also a holder of a NEBOSH National Certificate in Occupational Health & Safety, and is the appointed person taking group-wide responsibility for Health & Safety.
Simon graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a BSc in Food Marketing Management and moved straight into a graduate role with Dalgety Spillers, followed by three years in a junior management role with a Maltings company based in Newark. He describes his current role as: "Putting people at the heart of our business by delivering the people plan, while putting potatoes on the plates of the nation by overseeing the transport operation".
Jim Windle (Finance Director) joined Branston in January 2015 as Strategic Planning Director to specifically manage the commercial financial interface with customers and the development of Branston’s materials requirements planning (MRP) system. Previously, Jim worked in KPMG’s advisory function in both mergers and acquisitions and restructuring roles. In his 13 years at KPMG, he worked on numerous UK and cross-border transactions for both private and listed businesses. In November 2015, Jim became the Finance Director for the business.
Mark Willcox (Technical Director) joined Branston in January 2003 following the successful implementation of Lean Manufacturing at our Lincoln site by McKinsey & Company, where Mark was a Manager. Having rolled out 'Lean', he spearheaded a number of other strategic initiatives, including founding our Prepared Foods division, reducing our carbon footprint and additional commercial developments. Today, Mark is responsible for food safety, and legal and customer standards compliance, and he continues to oversee our Prepared Foods division and wider innovation strategy. Mark is also a director of APS Biocontrol Ltd, an innovative biocontrol business based in Scotland.
Before joining McKinsey, Mark spent eight years working in senior management at BMW Group, with roles in purchasing and manufacturing at Land Rover’s Solihull plant. He has a PhD in Engineering and a BSc in Physics.
George Christoudias (Sales & Marketing Director) joined Branston in March 2015 and is responsible for our Sales, Marketing and New Product Development functions. George has always worked in the food industry, specifically in category and commercial roles across fresh produce and chilled convenience, covering everything from sushi and food-to-go wraps, to root vegetables and brassicas. Immediately before coming to Branston, George spent three years at chilled food giant Bakkavor, heading up the Commercial and New Product Development functions for a number of convenience food categories.
Vidyanath (Vee) Gururajan
Vidyanath (Vee) Gururajan (Innovations Director) joined Branston as Development Engineer in 2005. Since then he has held various roles and managed the group capital expenditure programme, including our Prepared Foods factory build, factory extensions and anaerobic digestion plant. Vee was promoted to join the Executive Board in 2009. Today, Vee is responsible for varied portfolios in the Executive Board: major capital expenditure projects, sustainability, IT and innovation. Vee also heads up the variety development programme.
Vee served as an advisory board member for Tesco Producer Network and currently sits on Tesco's Responsible Sourcing advisory panel. He is a Board member of the National Center for Precision Farming (USA) specific interest group. Vee is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, and has a Masters in Engineering Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.
After graduating from Plymouth University with a degree in Food Technology, Ian worked for Gerber Foods for 12 years. He was initially in the Quality team before working his way up to Operations, where he looked after three chilled businesses. He then worked for Dairy Crest for two years before joining Branston in 2005 as General Manager of the South West site.
Ian has overseen many changes since he took over, with major investments and continuous improvement that have been key to the site’s growth and development.
In 2016 he joined the Executive Board as Operations Director, with responsibility for overseeing the running of all three of Branston’s Fresh potato packing factories. A particular focus is ensuring best practice is shared across the business in the key areas of Health & Safety, quality, customer service, people development and productivity. Ian also looks after Capital Expenditure plans and projects, ensuring that reinvestment remains a high priority at all sites.