Job profile: Business unit director

Job Title

Business Unit Director


Paul Tory


Hazlewood Foods

Professional Qualification(s):

5 O levels HNC Business Studies

Brief job description

Management and control of a Business Unit.

Key responsibilities

  • Achieving sales / profit budgets
  • Managing a team of 5 people
  • Co-ordinating activities between manufacturing sites and the customer
  • Identifying trends / new business opportunities.

My career so far…

On leaving school, worked for the local council as a clerical officer.

Moved into a direct selling role (there for 3 years) before moving into the food industry – career path to date as follows:

  • Beecham Bovril – Sales representative / Divisional Field Assistant / Area Sales Mgr
  • Anchor Foods – National Account Manager / Sales Manager
  • UNIQfoods – Senior National Account Manager (M&S;, Tesco)
  • Hazlewood Foods – Business Unit Director. Initially with Grocery Division, joined Prepared Foods Division in April 2001.

What does your job involve in a typical day?

There are no “typical” days, as each one has different challenges to face!

However, general tasks performed in the role are as follows:

  • Discussions with sites / performance and issues
  • Liasing with team to discuss issues / solutions / sales performance
  • Managing sales / profit budgets – identifying potential shortfalls and developing plans to address
  • Planning / preparing trade presentations
  • Strategic (longer term) discussions for our categories, to drive strategic plans
  • Internal presentations / discussions on key issues
  • Meetings with customers – in addition to the buying teams meetings also take place with other departments, such as supply management and marketing.
  • Team meetings (usually on a 2 / 3 weekly basis).
  • Site management meetings.

What do you like most about your job?

  • Interfacing with customers.
  • Problem solving / identifying solutions that benefit all parties.
  • Team motivation / management.
  • The “buzz” of winning new business / achieving goals.

What skills are required in your job?

  • Ability to LISTEN.
  • Ability to communicate clearly and concisely
  • Ability to plan ahead
  • Numeracy
  • Effective time management (particularly when there are numerous issues to deal with)
  • Organisational skills

How many people work for you?

Five direct reports

What is your advice to people looking for a career in the food and grocery industry?

  • Decide what type of career path you wish to pursue.
  • Identify the type of Company you would ideally like to work for (large conglomerate, medium sized company, small independent, branded or own label supplier).
  • Subscribe to The Grocer, which has a good selection of “positions vacant” at all levels, and for a variety of companies. In addition to this, there are various articles on key events / product launches / company profiles that can also be of benefit.
  • Do your homework. When you have an interview with a company, research it to find out about the turnover, financial position (through the library or specialist search), products produced, key benefits etc.
  • Visit a number of major supermarkets to look at
    • The product range
    • How the products are merchandised (positioned in store)
    • What are the main competitor products?
    • What is the price (RSP) position v competitors?
  • Having done this, make a note of 3 things that you would do to improve sales of the product. This would demonstrate at the interview your ability to identify solutions to benefit the sales performance of a product / product range.
  • If you explain to someone at the store that you are “fact finding” for a job interview, they may give you additional information on the Company you are researching.It is also worth taking some time looking at customer reaction to the products – do they immediately go to that product, do they look at competitor products and compare before making a purchase decision? How customers act in store determines how successful a product will be.

Always remember – THE CUSTOMER IS KING!