HUMAN RESOURCES | Staff Reporter, Australia

Bakers Delight names new CEOs

After 37 years, joint-CEOs and founders of Bakers Delight Roger and Lesley Gillespie are stepping down.

Formally handing over the reins to daughter Elise and husband David Christie, Roger Gillespie said the international retail chain is set for a new energy, whilst keeping customer-centricity and family at its heart.

“We are, and have always been a family business, so it makes sense to continue this tradition for future generations,” he said.

“As with any business, there comes a time when it is right for new leadership. Both Lesley and I are so proud of what we have achieved over the 37 years, and now we are ready to pass the baton to Elise and David.”

Elise and David Christie said that the company’s future is bright in Australia and globally.

“Elise and I have been actively involved in the Bakers Delight business for the past decade and what more could you want than to take over a business with an engaged, loyal customer base?” David Christie said.

“We have aggressive plans to grow the business, with the Gillespie Family vision for 2030 to grow store numbers to 800 in Australia, 400 in Canada and a further 150 across other markets including New Zealand."

In our new role as joint-CEOs we have the challenge of continuing our award winning service and quality products, whilst driving change and reclaiming our position as Australia’s market leader in the bread and baked goods category.”

“Whilst we have about 15% share of the bread market in Australia, we know that we need to be constantly demonstrating product and service innovation to stay ahead of the pack,” Elise Christie said.

"The food retail market is increasingly competitive and shoppers have more choice than ever. This is not only happening when they are out shopping but from within their homes via their mobile devices. Our challenge is not just about making better bread but finding new ways to delight our customers so we become a brand they all love to engage with on a regular basis,” she added.

“Our brand is really strong, so whilst taking over from two great entrepreneurs like my parents is daunting, the exciting opportunity for us is how we evolve the brand so it stays relevant for current and future customers, and to ensure continuity of great returns for our franchisees.”

Roger and Lesley Gillespie will remain on the Bakers Delight board as Founding Directors, with Roger also Chairman of the board.

“Family is hugely important,” Roger Gillespie said.

“We are a family run business that supports a network of smaller family businesses – our franchisees. I think the continuity of ownership has been well-received by our franchisees, particularly those with a long history in the business.”

In addition to the new CEOs, Aaron Gillespie will continue to oversee the Canadian operations as President of Cobs Bread and a member of the board.

Photo credit: Bakers Delight Facebook page

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