Congratulating Jozef Opdeweegh on his appointment as the new chief executive officer at Connect Group, the owner of news distributor Smiths News, NFRN National President Mike Mitchelson said:

“We look forward to working constructively with Mr Opdeweegh and will therefore be seeking a meeting with him as soon as possible after he takes up the reins on September 1 so we can discuss the current challenges of the news supply chain and set out ways that these can be overcome to the benefit of all parties – retailers, wholesalers and publishers.

“Mr Opdeweegh joins at an interesting time as it is just ahead of the implementation of Smiths News latest carriage charge increase. NFRN members can rest assured that in any discussions we have with him we will demonstrate why carriage charges are outdated and unfair and why an alternative needs to be found to ease the financial burden on independent retailers.”


Appointment of new Connect Group Chief Executive Officer

Connect Group has announced the following changes to the Board:

New Chief Executive Officer – Jozef (Jos) Opdeweegh has been appointed Chief Executive Officer, starting with the Company and joining the Board on 1 September 2018.

Jos started his career in the financial services industry and worked in a number of senior finance positions. Following a short period as the Chief Financial Officer and Managing Director for Europe, in 2000 Jos became the Chief Executive Officer of syncreon, a global provider of logistics services to the automotive and technology industry. In 2008, he was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of Americold Realty Trust, the world’s largest logistics provider for frozen and temperature controlled food products. From 2012 to 2015, Jos led the carve-out and subsequent sale of Caterpillar Logistics Services (now known as Neovia Logistics) during which period he was also a non-executive director of Interline Brands. In April 2016, Jos was Chief Executive Officer and Board Director of Premier Farnell PLC, a FTSE listed specialized high service distributor of technology products, until its sale to Avnet Inc. in October of the same year.

Looking forward to his new role, Jos Opdeweegh said: “This is an exciting time to be joining the Group. With two strong brands and a leading position in each of our markets there is every opportunity to drive an improvement in performance and establish a strategy that delivers value for all stakeholders.”

Mark Cashmore, current Chief Executive Officer – As announced on 13 June 2018, current Chief Executive Officer, Mark Cashmore, will be stepping down from his role and the Board to pursue new opportunities. Mark will stand down from the Board on 31 August 2018 but will remain with the Company for a short period of time to ensure a smooth and orderly handover to Jos. Mark has been Chief Executive of the Group since its inception in 2006 as an independent news wholesaler demerging from WH Smith PLC. Under his leadership, the Group is now a broader based specialist distributor with a leading position in all its markets.

Gary Kennedy, Chairman of Connect Group, commented: “I am looking forward to working with Jos to deliver our plans for strategic turnaround, profit performance and capital management. Jos brings a wealth of experience in delivering value driven strategic change. A results driven executive, his energy and relentless focus on delivery will be central to our turnaround and in sustaining performance improvement.

“I am grateful to Mark Cashmore for his invaluable contribution during his tenure.”

Source: Connect Group

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