Highland Spring exec reshuffle as CEO retires

Perthshire-based natural source water producer Highland Spring Group announced that Les Montgomery has decided to retire from his full-time role as chief executive to become a non-executive cirector of the company from the end of this year.

Chief commercial officer Simon Oldham and chief operating officer Mark Steven will step up to be joint managing directors of the business — owned by the wealthy Al Tajir family — with immediate effect.

Montgomery joined Highland Spring Group in 1985 and was previously finance director before becoming CEO in 2007.

“He has played a pivotal role in establishing the group as a leading natural source waters producer, with Highland Spring now the No.1 brand in the UK market,” said Highland Spring.

“During his tenure with the company, he spearheaded the acquisitions of Speyside Glenlivet and the water division of Greencore Group plc,and achieved his ambition to double the size of the business, including turnover, from £50m to £100m which was met a few years ago.

“Over the last three years, as well as leading the day- to-day activities of the business, Les has worked closely with other business leaders to develop plans and establish an organisation to run the proposed Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in Scotland.”

Oldham began his career at Procter & Gamble and has held roles in sales, marketing and commercial planning functions including a spell at Whyte & Mackay where he ran the UK Commercial team as managing director.

Oldham joined Highland Spring Group in 2010, originally as sales director.

Steven joined joined Highland Spring as group finance director in 2013, having previously been CFO with VION Food Group UK and has worked across a number of different industries both in the UK and overseas.

He was appointed chief operating officer in November 2018.

Montgomery said: “Highland Spring Group recently celebrated its 40th year anniversary and I am very proud of how far the business has come in that time.

“It has been a privilege to lead the company for the last 14 years and I would like to thank all the employees, past and present, of Highland Spring Group for their commitment and support, I am very proud of everything we have achieved together.

“I look forward to continuing to make a positive contribution to the business as a non-executive director.”