Fresca to become majority employee-owned, Mack reveals

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Fred Searle

BY FRED SEARLE

Fresca to become majority employee-owned, Mack reveals

Group chairman expects to increase employee ownership to over 50 per cent in next two to three years and appears to rule out family succession

Fresca to become majority employee-owned, Mack reveals

Chris Mack speaking at FPJ Live 2017

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Fresca Group chairman Chris Mack said he expects Mack to become a majority employee-owned business in the next two to three years.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with FPJ editor Michael Barker at FPJ Live he revealed that he wants to see employee share ownership increase in the business, 39 per cent of which is owned by two employee trusts.

“For me the best evolution for the business is to finish up as a meaningfully employee-owned business,” he said.

“We are actually already classified as being employee-owned officially… but we’ll be working on moving that percentage up and making it meaningful for the people in the business. For me that’s one of the important factors in our ongoing success.”

Mack indicated that this could happen in the next two to three years, but said the number one priority was “being able to fund capital expenditure” to support the existing business. “Shifting share ownership is a bit further down the list of priorities but it will happen,” he added.

Mack, also appeared to rule out the suggestion that a member of his own family might take over as Fresca chairman when he eventually steps down, saying “I don’t think so”.

He is the fourth generation in his family to run fresh produce supplier Mack, which is still privately owned but forms part of The Fresca Group.

“I came at a time when it was still okay for a member of the family to be encouraged and promoted,” Mack said. “The world is a different place now. It would be very difficult for a member of the family to be parachuted in and run the business. It’s too complicated.”

The fresh produce veteran, who started his career with Mack at Bristol wholesale market, has taken a step back from the day-to-day running of Fresca in recent years, spending most of his time on building strategic relationships and joint ventures. He does not expect to retire in the foreseeable future, however.

“I keep trying to change my role but… being part time in fresh produce is quite difficult,” he said. Citing his commitment to his young family, he added: “I don’t see me being able to retire in the foreseeable future.”

The full version of Chris Mack’s interview will appear in the 19 May issue of the Fresh Produce Journal

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