Commercial Manager – Waitrose

Start date: May 2008
Location: Melton Mowbray

“I started my career with Samworth Brothers as a Category Analyst in May 2008. As part of my degree I had completed a placement year in the food industry in a Category Management team and enjoyed working with data to find insights into sales performance and customer behaviour, so the opportunity was perfect for me.

I reported to the Marketing Manager who helped me gain a greater understanding into how we, as a team, could provide both the commercial development team and the customer with insight and analysis to help grow sales.

As I progressed in the Category Analyst role I was entrusted to look after a number of our retailer customers from a Category perspective. I also attended a Management Training programme which showed me how to work more effectively within teams, how to lead other people and how to progress my career towards management.

After three and a half years in the Category Role, I was given the opportunity to become a Trainee Commercial Manager. This was a significant change in career but a welcome one, as this opportunity opened my eyes to how the business operated and allowed me to work with lots of different functions, including Finance, Process, Production, and the Commercial Team. In this role, I gained a great deal of experience in how to manage customer relationships.

After five years, I was keen to work in another business to further my career but wanted to stay within the Samworth Brothers Group. Having decided I preferred the commercial role to category, I was fortunate enough get a Commercial Manager’s job at one of our sites in Melton Mowbray. This gave me the opportunity to work with a different customer and learn a different business.”

Chris Kilgallen