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THIS brings in new CEO as co-founders Andy Shovel and Pete Sharman step aside

February 2, 2024

UK-based plant-based food company, THIS, has announced that it has appointed Mark Cuddigan as its new CEO. Cuddigan, previously the chief executive at Ella’s Kitchen, brings his experience and expertise to lead THIS in its efforts within the plant-based food sector. His appointment aligns with the company's focus on advancing its position and offerings in the growing plant-based market.

Cuddigan is succeeding co-founders Andy Shovel and Pete Sharman, who have served as co-CEOs since the company's launch in 2019. Cuddigan is scheduled to begin his new position on 19 February 2024, reporting to the board of directors. Shovel and Sharman, while stepping down as co-CEOs, will remain actively involved in the business, offering support to Cuddigan and the senior team at both operational and board levels.

"After four-and-a-half years of trading and two more years of R&D before that, Pete and I have taken a self-awareness pill, and realized that there could be more sensible and more suitable CEOs to take our baby up to dizzying heights," said Shovel. "Hopefully we've done a semi-alright job up until now. Thanks to our team (and like 2% Pete and I), THIS has gone from £0 to ~£24 million annualized revenue in four years, we grew 47% year-on-year in 2023 while the category stayed flat, we're the largest independently owned meat alt brand and we're aiming to have our first profitable quarter later this year. We look forward to supporting Mark and the team from here, as we try and further revolutionize the plant-based category with banging new products and silly marketing."

Under the leadership of Shovel and Sharman, THIS has experienced significant growth, achieving an annualized revenue of £22 million (US$28 million) in December 2023. The brand has secured retail listings in major supermarkets, restaurants, and cafes across the UK. With the goal of maintaining and furthering this momentum, Cuddigan's appointment is seen as a strategic move to leverage his experience in the food and beverage industry.

Cuddigan, who led Ella’s Kitchen for six years, played a pivotal role in driving the business's revenue from £41 million (US$52 million) to £100 million (US$128 million) after its acquisition by the Hain Celestial Group in May 2013. He has also been involved in the B Corp movement, sitting on the B Lab board for nearly five years. Cuddigan expressed his excitement about joining This, emphasizing the brand's impressive growth journey and its role in facilitating the transition to a plant-based diet for consumers.

THIS also confirmed the departure of Mark Turner, who served as managing director, noting his contributions to the business's 47% revenue growth in the past year. Turner is set to take a short break before embarking on his next challenge. Cuddigan's appointment is anticipated to guide THIS through the next phase of its growth trajectory.

You can read Andy Shovel's interview in the latest edition of Protein Production Technology International here

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with us, please email info@futureofproteinproduction.com

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