Dicksons announces new managing director, looks to the future
Published:  03 May, 2016

Chris Hayman has been announced as Dicksons Pork Butchers’ new managing director, after acting as head of sales at the Tyne and Wear-based family business. It is the first time that somebody from outside the Dickson family will serve in the position. 

The news comes after Michael Dickson made the decision to move into the role of executive chairman.

“It’s been commonly accepted for some time by staff, colleagues and family that we would make such an appointment to allow me to move to the role of company chair,” commented Dickson.

“Given how integrated Chris is within Dicksons and how involved he has been in the future strategy of the business, passing operational matters over as the first non-family managing director of the company has been a process rather than an event.”

The appointment, said Dickson, has been planned for several years and was the main driver behind the formation of a family/shareholder council in 2008. The council was established with the intention of maintaining family participation and ownership while acknowledging that the business may not remain under close day-to-day family direction.

Dickson claimed that growth expectation of the wholesale business will allow for further expansion of the South Shields factory in the next 12 months: “We’re planning a 50% increase in our retail estate by 2019 taking us to 40 sites, so now is the right time for Chris to drive forward the many positive changes taking place to secure the future for the business and that of our long-serving team.”

Since joining the business two years ago, Dickson said that Hayman has had a “remarkable impact” on the business.

“He’s not only gained the support and respect of the wider staff but understands the family values on which our business has been built. Succession planning has been a consideration for quite some time and I have every confidence that Chris will lead our newly restructured senior team to build on recent momentum in the retail and wholesale divisions.

“It’s a time of change but also an exciting period of growth for Dicksons and one which Chris and the team will be leading with my support.”

'Strength to strength'

Before joining Dicksons in the retail division in 2014, Hayman previously worked with McDonald's for 16 years.

“When I first arrived at Dicksons, the change in culture from a multi-national to a much-loved family business was a revelation but one which I embraced wholeheartedly,” explained Hayman.

“The business has gone from strength to strength over the past few years and modifications to our retail model and new shops have brought us to a new audience eager to try both the traditional and new products that continue to make Dicksons such a strong brand in the region.”

Hayman believes that the retail division’s willingness to readily adapt to customers’ changing needs can be reflected in the growing wholesale side of the business. “We are now in the midst of planning a factory expansion to meet this increase in demand and help future-proof the business to deliver for clients on a national, as well as regional, scale,” he said.

“Michael Dickson has been the driving force behind Dicksons for so many decades that stepping into the managing director role was one which I had to consider carefully. Michael’s input in day-to-day operational concerns will reduce but we’ll continue to work closely together on strategic matters for the next two years so the business can continue to benefit from his decades of experience.”

In his new position, Hayman will be at the forefront of fresh initiatives at the business to help expand in both the retail and wholesale markets.

Just this year, Dicksons is planning four new shop openings, with a long-term plan of increasing Dicksons retail presence to 40 shops within a three-year period.

The company is also looking to modernise equipment and to expand within the factory space to support the wholesale division in an effort to increase efficiency and compete in markets on a regional and national level. These plans are expected to see staff numbers go from 300 to 450 by 2019.

“Looking ahead to the future, I’m committed to ensuring Dicksons retains the family ethos so important to our customers and employees and will continue to work with not only Michael and marketing director Elena [Michael’s daughter], but also engage with the wider family council, all of whom take a real interest in the business and their employees,” added Hayman.