Chris Noel moves from Waitrose to Divine Chocolate as sales director

Mr Noel has been brought in to head up a drive for 'aggressive growth' at the producer-owned Fairtrade business

Divine Chocolate, the Fairtrade chocolate company owned by cocoa farmers, has appointed a new sales director, Chris Noel.

Mr Noel, who previously worked at Waitrose as confectionery buyer, said: “Divine Chocolate is an exceptional brand in the premium market, combining fine quality chocolate with a unique brand story.

“Its future is exciting with the challenge to continue to do things differently, so I’m delighted to have the opportunity to be involved in the next stage of its development and expanding the brand’s presence.

“While I bring lots of experience from retail and confectionery, I’m also excited about learning more about this special brand and working with the team to realise the Divine social mission of empowering both farmers and chocolate lovers.”

Chief executive Sophi Tranchell said: “Chris brings with him considerable experience within the chocolate market, as well as broader knowledge of how to target more affluent foodie shoppers, which is relevant for Divine. His experience within Britain’s most successful employee-owned business and his understanding of the premium chocolate market will help Divine expand its presence in the UK and beyond, as we grow the brand and take Divine to its next stage of development.”

Chris began his career with the John Lewis Partnership 13 years ago and has held positions within Waitrose and John Lewis in this time. His roles have included vision and men’s fashion with John Lewis before he moved into household and most recently confectionery at Waitrose, where he was buyer for almost four years.

At Divine, he will be responsible for developing and implementing the UK sales strategy to company identify and optimise a clear path to aggressive growth.

Dievine, which has £12m global turnover and sells in Europe, Canada, South Korea, Japan and Australia and the USA, is expanding its export offering and was named best emerging brand at The Sunday Times Lloyds SME Export Track 100 awards in May 2017.

A key player in the growth of Fairtrade, in January it was certified as a B Company, demonstrating a range of social and environmental business standards, as well as accountability and transparency, and a commitment to ongoing development and improvement in all these aspects of its business.

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