Montezuma’s, the UK artisan chocolatier, which was taken over last year by Edinburgh-based private equity firm, Inverleith LLP, has announced a new senior executive leadership team to take the 18-year-old company forward.
Bruce Alexander becomes managing director, joining Carl Moore who joined the company as finance director and Debbie Epstein who has become marketing director.
Montezuma’s was founded by Helen and Simon Pattinson in 2000. Following a period of transition, they are taking a step back from the day-to-day running of the business and taking on roles as ambassadors and directors.
New managing director Alexander joins the company from Kerry Food where he has been commercial director for two years, prior to which he was with Lucozade Ribena Suntory as impulse commercial director. Before that, he spent 15 years in senior roles with Nestlé. Alexander, who is 49 years old, started his working life at United Biscuits.
“I am really excited to join Montezuma's and lead them on the next chapter of their incredible journey. It really is a dream role, not just because I am a chocolate lover! I look forward to increasing distribution, at home and overseas, capturing new opportunities for the brand and continuing with the chocolate innovations which Montezuma’s is rightly famous for,” he said.
Carl Moore, who joins from L’Oreal to become Montezuma’s new finance director, said: “It is an exciting time to join the business, with the ambitious plans we have for the coming years. I look forward to overseeing our investment in growth and supporting the ongoing success of the business. I have joined a fantastic team, and it’s a nice perk that the products we make taste incredible, too!”
Moore was head of finance for L’Oreal Professionnel, the largest brand within L’Oreal’s Professional Products division. Before that, he was corporate controller for L’Oreal UK and Ireland. Previous experience includes finance roles at The Body Shop, MTV UK and Viacom Group. Moore obtained his ACA chartered accountancy qualification while working as an auditor at KPMG. He studied Management Studies and Mathematics at the University of Leeds.
Debbie Epstein has joined Montezuma’s as marketing director, having previously held the same role at Bounce Foods for two years. Epstein has spent much of her time with smaller, entrepreneurial businesses during her time as a marketing consultant. She served as brand director – head of Ella’s-ness – at Ella’s Kitchen and head of marketing at Charles Worthington. Other experience includes marketing roles at Boots and The Body Shop.
“Having been a fan of Montezuma’s for years, and now, being part of the team to help take the brand from “good to great”, makes it the absolute dream job,” she said.
“In a market that is crying out for truly amazing, premium chocolate, from a company that is values-led and ethically driven, Montezuma’s is set for success. It’s truly exciting times for chocolate lovers out there as we bring more chocolate to more people, in more ways!”
Inverleith LLP, the specialist consumer brands investor, acquired a majority position in Montezuma’s in November 2018.
Michael Atkinson, Inverleith’s operating & brand director, said: “The implementation of a new senior executive management team at Montezuma’s is one of the foundation stones of the investment plan agreed between Inverleith and the Founders. We’re pleased to have secured Bruce, Debbie and Carl to join this team. They each bring a wealth of experience to their roles and we know they will play valuable parts in the Montezuma’s growth journey. We are also delighted that Helen and Simon, whilst stepping back from day to day management of the business, will continue to be actively involved in Montezuma’s, continuing as founder directors and also as global ambassadors for this great British brand.”