Simon Hannah steps down from Unitas board; two new members join

Chief executive of JW Filshill decided to step down from board.
Simon Hannah

Unitas Wholesale has announced that Simon Hannah, chief executive of JW Filshill, has decided to step down from its board.

The annual general meeting of Unitas, held on 25 November, has meanwhile approved the proposal from the board to increase the number of board positions.

As a result of this Michael Skelton, managing director of Savage and Whitten Wholesale, operating out of Northern Ireland and Jason Wouhra of Lioncroft Wholesale Ltd, were both elected to the board, representing the Retail category.

“I am pleased that the AGM approved the new Board structure which better represents the group as a whole and our desire to become a more member centric organisation,” Mark Aylwin, Unitas chairman, commented.

“Both Michael and Jason run excellent businesses and will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to our board, and I look forward to working with them both.

“While we are disappointed that Simon will be stepping down from the board, we respect his decision to focus on the significant growth plan for his own business and wish him well in that journey. I would personally like to thank Simon for the tremendous support he has afforded me since joining the Board and thank him for his valuable support and guidance in my role as chairman”

Commenting on his departure from the board, Hannah said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my role as a board member and chairman of Unitas Wholesale; however, it is now time for me to focus my time and attention on the JW Filshill organisation – Our business is over 140 years old, and we will continue to innovate and lead the way.”

He said Filshill’s new 120,000 sq ft distribution centre at Westway will be a huge focus for his time as they implement a growth strategy for the business.

Hannah served as the chairman of the group for over a year since January 2020, till Aylwin succeeded him in March this year as board has decided to bring in a non-member chair.

John Kinney, managing director of Unitas, said, “We are very grateful to Simon for his expertise, support and knowledge of the industry during his time as both a board member and former chair and wish him all the very best for the future success overseeing the significant growth plans for the Filshill business”.

In addition to electing two new board members for the Retail channel there were two board positions up for rotational election in the Foodservice and On-Trade categories.

Following a ballot of shareholders Jim Cummiskey of Failte Foods LTD and, Andrew Wild of Wilds Premier Drinks were duly re-elected to the board as representatives for the Foodservice and On-Trade categories, respectively.