Hotel Chocolat announces new CFO after record holiday season

Premium British chocolate maker Hotel Chocolat Group has announced the appointment of Jon Akehurst as its new chief financial officer.

He is due to take on the role later this year in May, and is also set to become an executive board director.

Angus Thirlwell, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Hotel Chocolat, said: “Jon joins at an exciting time for Hotel Chocolat.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“His skills will underpin our determination to get back to running a tight ship operating model, with EBITDA of over 20 per cent in 2025 within our sights.”

The news comes shortly after the firm set a target of opening of 50 new stores within the next three to five years.

This followed the company achieving its highest seasonal sales figures to date for its physical UK and Ireland stores.

It saw like-for-like growth of ten per cent in the nine weeks leading up to Christmas.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Speaking to PA Media at the time, Mr Thirwell said: “We opened two new locations which traded through the second half of the year – in Norwich and Nottingham – and both have been huge successes. These cities were calling out for the brand andthe evidence has been positive, so we know there is really good scope for further expansion."

Despite the bumper season, however, the firm’s online sales were down compared to the previous year.

Last month, Hotel Chocolat also agreed to a new joint venture with Japanese firm Eat Creator Corporation.

The deal will see the Tokyo-based firm operating 21 Hotel Chocolat stores across Japan.

Hotel Chocolat’s previous venture in Japan collapsed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Akehurst is a chartered accountant with a career which includes management and leadership roles with General Mills, Mars, Aggreko and most recently at Terumo Corporation’s Aortic Division as CFO.

He also has extensive experience across branded goods, manufacturing and international development.

Matt Pritchard, announced his departure as CFO in December.

He stepped down on January31 after nine years with the company.

Related topics: