Dairy Crest boss to step down one month after takeover

Dairy Crest chief executive Mark Allen is to step down just a month after Canadian company Saputo took over the firm.

Tom Atherton – who is currently Dairy Crest’s deputy chief executive and group finance director – will take his place at the helm of the company.

Atherton’s new role will see him appointed as president and chief operating officer of Saputo’s Dairy Division (UK) with immediate effect.

Allen will remain with the company until July 2019 to ensure a transition to Atherton.

Atherton has worked for Dairy Crest since 2005. He was appointed as an executive director and group finance director in 2013 and has also held the position of deputy chief executive since January 2018.

In his role, he has been instrumental in determining the strategic direction of Dairy Crest. Previously, Atherton has held senior management positions within other publicly-listed companies in the UK.

In his new role, he will report to Kai Bockmann, president and chief operating officer of Saputo.


Saputo took over the Cathedral City and Clover owner in April as part of a £975 million deal.

Saputo is one of the biggest dairy processors in the world employing 12,800 people and operating in Canada, Argentina, Australia and North America. However, the group does not currently have any operations in Europe.

The group’s interest in Dairy Crest is said to be motivated by a desire to increase its international presence and enter the UK market.

At the time of the takeover, it said it saw Dairy Crest as a “well-established and successful” industry player with a solid asset base and an experienced management team.

Dairy Crest is one of the leading British-owned dairy companies and is best known for its Cathedral City, Clover, Country Life and Frylight brands.

The company, which is supplied by around 330 South West farmers, also manufactures ingredients for baby formula.