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Management Team

Ibrahim Najafi (CEO)

Ibrahim joined the business in 1998, and was appointed to the Board in 2000. Since then he has guided and developed the teams responsible for building and running the most modern and efficient ice cream manufacturing plants in both the UK and across mainland Europe.  Since 2009 he has been responsible, as CEO Europe, for the growth and development of the business in Germany, France and Poland, taking over as CEO for the Group in January 2014.  Ibrahim loves the diverse and exciting challenges that his role brings every day.  Outside work, Ibrahim enjoys keeping fit whether running, cycling or playing basketball, he is also very keen on travel as well as DIY where his engineering skills and perfectionism clearly shows through in all his many projects. His favourite R&R product is a Smarties cone

Andy Finneran (Group CFO)

Initially a director of Treats Group plc which merged with Richmond in 1998, Andy is renowned for being a perfectionist where numbers are concerned. He joined Treats back in 1991 when turnover was just £12 million and the impressive growth of the Group makes him passionate about the business' continued success. He was awarded Yorkshire Finance Director of the Year in 2006 on the back of the de-listing of Richmond Foods plc and the sale of the business to Oaktree and repeated his success in 2013, on the back of the sale of the business to PAI.  Andy believes the secret of the company's success lies in a clear strategy, keeping things simple and teamwork driving it towards a profitable, working reality. He also believes humour is part of the reason for the team’s success despite being the target for most of Ibrahim’s jokes!  Andy is a bit of a gym-aholic and his hobbies include rugby, horse racing, golf, football (especially Manchester United & Grimsby Town) and financing the student lifestyles of his 3 sons. His favourite R&R products are the new Milka stick, the Oreo sandwich, Crunchie Blast and the Del Monte raspberry smoothie lolly.

Phil Griffin (Group Marketing Director)

Phil joined R&R in 2001 from Northern Foods and worked in a number of commercial positions before becoming UK marketing director in 2008.  In 2012 he moved to a group role overseeing the organic growth plans for the business across Europe. Originally from Liverpool, he became an adopted Yorkshireman while at University in Leeds, with a post grad in business from Nottingham Trent.  Phil played semi- professional rugby in his past and is now a keen cyclist and enjoys family life with 3 kids.  His favourite product is Kelly’s Dairy Vanilla!

Mike Fraine (Head of UK & Ireland)

Having joined Richmond back in 1990, Mike joined the Board in 1996 and was promoted to sales director in 1998. Mike is well-placed to identify the key ingredients of the company's success story.  He believes it is firstly about a great team of people with a strong well communicated strategy supported by visionary leadership, ambition, urgency, resilience and an ongoing appetite for growth.  In his spare time, Mike likes to play golf, keep fit, watch his sons play sport and support his favourite football team, Manchester City.  His favourite R&R product is Tesco Finest Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice Lolly.

Peter Pickthall (Group HR Director)

A director since 2001, Peter is passionate about ensuring the company treats everyone fairly, keeps them safe whilst at work and raises their skills and abilities through training. He believes that creating the opportunity for growth and development provides staff with fulfilling careers in the company. He is also committed to ensuring that environmentally we operate responsibly and reduce our carbon footprint.  When he finds the time, Peter loves sailing whenever time and circumstances allow. His favourite R&R products are Mivvi and the Kelly Cornish dairy products.

Gotthard Kirchner (General Manager Germany)

Gotthard joined R&R in 2014 but has worked in the ice cream sector since he was 16 years old when he started in his parent’s ice cream company. Having qualified as a Dipl.-Kfm. (university diploma degree) and received his Doctorate, Gotthard was responsible for running Rosen Eiskrem from 1990-2013. For the last 12 years he was also the business’s sole owner until he sold it and joined the R&R Ice Cream group as General Manager for Germany. His many years’ experience of the ice cream market mean Gotthard has developed a thorough knowledge of the sector in the German speaking countries and he also has many high level contacts across the whole European food industry. Away from work, Gotthard’s family comes first but he also loves skiing, golf and supporting football club Borussia Mönchengladbach. His favorite R&R product is Landliebe Yoghurt.

Fabrice Ducasse (Country Manager & Sales and Marketing Director France)

Fabrice joined R&R in 2011 when the Pilpa ice cream business merged with Rolland R&R France.   He was appointed to the Board in December 2013 when he was promoted country manager for the French business.  He also still retains control of sales & marketing.  Prior to this, Fabrice occupied senior sales & marketing management posts at businesses involved in different sectors of the food industry such as dairy, frozen foods and ice cream.  He has a passion for team work, successful strategy implementation and bringing product innovation to the sector.

Originally from Bordeaux, he enjoys his family life in the south west of France as well as travelling the world and discovering its cultures.  His favourite R&R product is the Milka stick.

Antonio Mazzesi - Sales & Marketing Director Italy

Antonio joined R&R in this role in October 2014.  Previously, he worked at Unilever for 12 years in the ice cream and frozen food division responsible for the modern trade channel and category management.

Antonio also spent 11 years with Ferrero, the leading Italian manufacturer of  branded chocolate and confectionery products and the biggest chocolate producer in the world. Here he held the post of European Sales Director where he also worked closely with the owner Michele Ferrero on ice cream category development.
 
He very much enjoys playing and watching sports such as football, tennis and sailing and also likes to spend time with family including his three children.

His favourite R&R product is the Milka mini cone.

Pietro Monaco (Group COO)

Pietro joined R&R in 2013 and was appointed to the Board in 2014.  Prior to this, he occupied senior management positions in the ice cream sector with responsibilities including category management, the supply chain, business integration and production technology. Pietro has a strong engineering background and has been closely involved in several industry breakthroughs. 

He enjoys the challenge of motivating people to achieve their best and ensure that R&R’s ambitious growth targets are met. Away from work, Pietro enjoys running, swimming and spending time with his family. His favourite R&R product is the Oreo sandwich.

Zbigniew Dyśko (Country Manager and Sales & Marketing Director Poland)

Zbigniew joined R&R in October 2014 in the position of the Country Manager Sales & Marketing Poland as a Board Member. Previously he held executive posts in Schoeller and Nestle Ice Cream companies, where he was responsible for the sales, marketing and distribution of ice cream products in Eastern Europe. He embraces the ambitious task of executing the company’s strategy, introducing new and interesting product innovations and developing teamwork enthusiastically.

Outside of work Zbigniew enjoys spending time with his family. He also has a great passion for music, which he joins with creating high-end amplifiers for audiophiles. His favourite R&R product is Happy Twist on the stick.

Derek Yates (Group Supply Chain & IT Director)

Derek joined the company in 1995 after graduating from Leeds University with a degree in chemical engineering. Beginning as a data entry clerk, he expanded his knowledge and gained valuable experience in a variety of roles including engineering and research & development.  In 2005 he became UK supply chain manager.  Following a brief career move away from R&R, he then returned  to the company in 2006 in a European group buying role and in 2015 he was appointed Group Supply Chain  & IT Director .

When he is not working Derek enjoys spending quality time with his family, he relaxes by reading and visiting the theatre. Derek’s favoured product is the YooMoo tropical yoghurt ice lolly.

Neil Millan (European HR & Group Talent Director)

Neil joined us in June 2015 having had an extensive and varied career in Nestlé, in a variety of HR leadership roles across the UK and Europe, including a spell as HR Director for their UK confectionary business. During his time with Nestlé Neil worked in York, where he first got to know R&R/Richmond as he was responsible for HR at the time the business acquired the Nestlé Ice Cream business, before heading south to the Nestlé Head Office at Croydon, then to Nestlé global head office in Switzerland, so throughout his career has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in both global HR and talent development in manufacturing, sales and commercial environment. Neil relishes the challenge the global HR and talent role in the R&R Group offers him.  Away from the office, Neil is involved in football coaching with the under 13 team in Easingwold as well playing social football himself.  As an avid rugby fan he watches junior rugby union whenever he can visiting all the local North Yorkshire sides.  He also enjoys walking and travelling - which is just as well given his role. His favourite R&R products Rowntree’s Fruit Pastille lolly and Cadbury Crunchie Blast Stick.

Stephen Audsley (MD & CEO Peters)

“Stephen was appointed as Peters Ice Cream’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer in September 2012, bringing with him over 20 years’ experience in international and Australian branded consumer goods.

Prior to joining Peters Ice Cream, Stephen held the position of Chief Executive Officer of Breville Group Ltd from 2008 to 2011 where he was responsible for leading significant revenue and profit growth, including expansion into key international markets. Stephen was also Chief Financial Officer of Pacific Brands Ltd from 2005

to 2007 and held Group General Manager roles from 1996 to 2005.

Stephen enjoys spending time with his family and is a keen distance runner & motor bike rider.”

Sam Wrist (Group Integration Director)

Sam joined R&R in a production capacity in May 1996. After specialising in process areas and undertaking factory management roles, became the UK operations manager in 2007. The journey with R&R has been diverse, gaining management and operational skills including, innovation, technical, finance through to supply chain. A very hands on approach is used to bring the teams together during both the reactive and planned day to day events that take place.

He was appointed to the board as UK Operations Director in 2013, responsible for all operational matters at R&R’s three UK factories in North Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cornwall.

In April 2015 he was appointed to the role of Group Integration Director, responsible for bringing new acquisitions into the R&R ways of working and combining best practice.

In his spare time he enjoys keeping fit through a variety of sports; spending time with his partner and two children, undertaking various house refurbishment projects and is currently studying an MBA with Edinburgh Napier University.

Sam’s favorite product is Oreo sandwich.