On Thursday 17th October, we were delighted to host the latest Berwick Partners Consumer Leadership Dinner on Board Threats, Brexit & Beyond, at our offices in London.
Our speaker for the evening was Ian Wright, Chief Executive of the Food & Drink Federation. The FDF is the representative voice of the companies and trade associations which make up the UK's largest manufacturing sector. Ian joined the FDF in March 2015, having previously spent 14 years with Diageo plc - the world's largest drinks business. At Diageo, Ian was the executive committee member responsible for Diageo’s reputation as it became one of the world's most trusted and respected companies. Earlier in his career, Ian worked for Boots the Chemist, Mars Confectionery and Pillsbury, and had spells in consultancy and politics; receiving a CBE for political and public service in August 2015.
Ian commenced his speech by underlining the importance of real and genuine leadership, particularly given the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the current political climate. Whilst Brexit creates huge indecision and ambiguity, Ian explained how it also presents a tremendous opportunity for many UK Food & Drink and Consumer Goods organisations, particularly for those businesses that are prepared to be agile, adaptive and innovative. As many customers, especially grocery retailers, attempt to secure their supply chains and delivery of goods, he felt that Brexit offers an enormous opportunity for firms to promote ‘Buying British’. During these uncertain times, an increasing number of customers and organisations are looking to UK based manufacturers; a prospect which should not be overlooked or missed. All of this is currently being supported by positive consumer sentiment and public opinion.
The event concluded with an extensive and lively Q&A within the room. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and Ian genuinely inspired and instigated much thought and discussion, for which we thank him greatly.