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Highland Spring Group announces Les Montgomery to step down as Chief Executive after 36 years with the business

Blackford 18th August 2021:

Highland Spring Group, the UK’s leading producer of natural source waters, have announced today that Les Montgomery has decided to retire from his full-time role as Chief Executive, to become a Non-Executive Director of the company from the end of this year. Chief Commercial Officer, Simon Oldham and Chief Operating Officer, Mark Steven will step up to be Joint Managing Directors of the business with immediate effect.

Les joined Highland Spring Group in 1985, he was previously Finance Director and was appointed to the Chief Executive role in 2007. He has played a pivotal role in establishing the Group as a leading natural source waters producer, with Highland Spring now the No.1 brand in the UK market. During his tenure with the company, he spearheaded the acquisitions of Speyside Glenlivet and the water division of Greencore Group plc,and achieved his ambition to double the size of the business, including turnover, from £50m to £100m which was met a few years ago. Over the last three years, as well as leading the day- to-day activities of the business, Les has worked closely with other business leaders to develop plans and establish an organisation to run the proposed Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in Scotland.

Simon Oldham has over 25 years of FMCG commercial experience having begun his career at Procter & Gamble and has held previous roles in Sales, Marketing and Commercial planning functions including at Whyte & Mackay where he ran the UK Commercial team as Managing Director. Simon joined Highland Spring Group in 2010, originally as Sales Director. He will remain responsible for leading the company’s Sales, Marketing, Export, Technical and Supply Chain teams to create consumer demand and drive growth domestically and overseas.

Mark Steven joined the company as Group Finance Director in 2013, having previously been CFO with VION Food Group UK and has worked across a number of different industries both in the UK and overseas. He was appointed Chief Operating Officer in November 2018 and will continue to have overall responsibility for the management and setting of strategic direction for the Operations, Procurement, Finance, IT, Legal and HR functions.

Les Montgomery said; “Highland Spring Group recently celebrated its 40th year anniversary and I am very proud of how far the business has come in that time. It has been a privilege to lead the company for the last 14 years and I would like to thank all the employees, past and present, of Highland Spring Group for their commitment and support, I am very proud of everything we have achieved together. I look forward to continuing to make a positive contribution to the business as a Non-Executive Director.”

Commenting on the announcement, Simon Oldham and Mark Steven said: “On behalf of Highland Spring Group, we would like to thank Les for his dedication and the huge contribution he has made to the business over the last 36 years.

We are delighted to be leading the business at this exciting time as we enter the next chapter in the story of this unique company. The last year has proven what a great business Highland Spring Group is, with strong assets and fantastic people. Our strategic approach will continue to focus on providing healthy hydration in an environmentally sustainable way.”