Authentic leaders talking openly about themselves and their journey so far
Marnie Millard is the head of Nichols PLC, the home to household name brands such as Vimto and Levi Roots. Although now a PLC, the company began as a family business in 1908 and still counts a number of the Nichols family among its employees today.
Family has also been central to the career of this inspirational CEO, who reveals how she overcame unconscious bias in her early career to achieve her first director level role. She explains how she balanced the demands of motherhood without compromising on her talent or ambitions. You’ll hear about her experience of working three days a week and ultimately how this led her to the decision to take a three and a half year career break.
My first selling role was in telesales with British Sugar, but my career really started to gain momentum when I joined Bristol Myers Squibb in the Consumer Division. I started my time there as a sales representative covering all the chemists in the East Anglia region. Despite the fact we were selling predominantly female orientated products such as Mum deodorant and Clairol Hair care, I was the first women to be recruited into a team of 50 men. I fast tracked there from my initial role into becoming the company’s Field Sales Trainer looking after the graduate trainees. I managed the training programme for the field sales team before moving into a key account management role. I then joined Hillsdown Holdings (now Premier Foods) as a Product Manager for 3 years after which I left to take a 3 year career break to have my children.
This really leads to the here and now as I have been in the soft drinks industry for 19 years.
I was at Macaw Soft Drinks for 11 years until it was acquired by Cott Beverages in 2006, starting as a National Account Executive to becoming their Sales and Marketing Director for 8 years I took the business from a turnover of circa £11m to £62m. When the business was sold it had a price tag of £72.4m. We produced own label carbonated soft drinks for all the major supermarkets.
I then spent 18 months running my own innovation consultancy before I was approached by Refresco Holdings Ltd in 2007 to run their newly acquired UK operation as MD. I had P&L responsibility along with managing a production site of 120 people operating from 12 production lines predominately Tetra Pak cartons. I was responsible for doubling the business and taking it from a contract packing only operation to a 50/50 split between contract packing and own label production in carton juice.
I joined Gerber Ltd in June 2011 as Commercial Director for a £300m private label juice business looking after both the sales and marketing functions. Branded portfolio includes Del Monte, Welch’s, Sunny D and Lazy Town.
I was headhunted by Nichols PLC in May 2012 and joined them on 1st Oct as MD for Vimto Soft Drinks, becoming CEO of the group 1st May 2013. This last move enabled me to move back home permanently and the opportunity for work in a PLC on a totally branded business. Nichols PLC is the home of Vimto which has a brand value of £64m. Turnover for the group is almost £110m and Vimto is represented in more than 65 different countries. Other products within the portfolio are Panda, Weight Watchers, Levi Roots, Sunkist and Extreme Energy.