Simply Fresh generic SimplyFresh

Simply Fresh has appointed former Co-op Food regional operations director and industry veteran Steve Drake as its commercial director.

Drake helped the symbol group develop its wholesale trial with Sainsbury’s as a consultant earlier this year. As Co-op Food regional operations director, he was responsible for 600 food stores in south west England and Wales.

Other roles held by Drake over the course of two decades include Shell Retail head of European convenience retail and helping lead BP’s convenience retail partnerships programme throughout Europe.

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Commenting on his appointment, Drake said: “Having been deeply involved in building the new Simply Fresh with Sainsbury’s proposition over the past months, I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to continue my work as commercial director.

“I am absolutely convinced that Simply Fresh and Sainsbury’s are developing a sector-leading proposition together for progressive and ambitious independent retailers that will elevate the sheer quality and variety of fresh products available to their customers, improve operational efficiencies in their businesses and accelerate profitable sales growth.”

Simply Fresh CEO Tim Chalk added: “Steve has been working alongside Simply Fresh and Simply Local as a consultant for several months now. I am delighted he has accepted our invitation to come on board as our commercial director.

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“Steve has been pivotal in trialling and developing our new business model with Sainsbury’s and as we bring our offer to market he is best placed to deliver this most compelling strategic partnership to our retailers.

“Steve brings a diverse retail background and an infectious professionalism to Simply Fresh and Simply Local, and I know the team is energised by his appointment.”

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