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SHS Group appoints Elaine Birchall as chief

Published:  05 November, 2014

Distribution company SHS Group, whose drinks division owns the WKD RTD, has appointed Elaine Birchall to head up the firm.

The Belfast-based firm turns over £400 million annually and employs around 700 people across the UK and Ireland.

 Birchall joins from PZ Cussons, owner of Imperial Leather soap, where she held the post of Africa area director for seven years. She has 20 years experience in FMCG.

The drinks division, based in Gloucester, includes a range of ciders, soft drinks and RTDs. It is headed up by Finn O'Driscoll and includes Beverage Brands, Merrydown, Bottlegreen Drinks and Caledonian Bottlers. According to the firm, its WKD brand has a UK retail value of over £189 million. This division exports a total of nine brands to 40 countries with export turnover of over £10 million.

Birchall said: "I am honoured and excited by the chance to build on the great achievements the SHS Group has secured in recent years and lead such a successful and committed team. We have earned an enviable position within the market due to our ability to develop brands to their potential and forge strong relationships with strategic partners."

Joe Sloan, co-founder and chairman of SHS Group, said Birchall was "an extremely important addition".

The group has three other divisions aside from drinks - condiments and sauces and sales and marketing divisions targeting the UK and Ireland separately. Aside from its own brands it also distributed a number of well-known products including Jordans, Ryvita, Nivea, Finish and Mars Drinks.