Hustad prepares rapid changeover into New Booker

“New Booker” will be established on May 3 and officially launched to 500 depot managers and senior staff at a meeting in Birmingham on June 14.

New chairman and ceo Hans Kristian Hustad told ProWholesaler that changes currently under way and due for completion by the May Bank Holiday will transform the company into a leaner, customer-focused organisation that will be known internally as “New Booker”.

He said: “Old Booker was Big Food Group Booker. New Booker is the customer-focused Booker. In internal communications we will talk about ‘New Booker’.”

Since taking control of Booker in mid February, Hustad has set about a rapid reorganisation of the business at its head office, Equity House in Wellingborough.

He has insisted the structure must be simplified and only functions that support the branches in some way will be retained. Of the 440 staff, 82 have been made redundant. Hustad said many of the jobs that had gone supported the old plc structure and were no longer needed now it was a private company.

To establish customer focus three new cross-functional teams will be established dealing with retailers, caterers and the alcohol and tobacco business.

Hustad said: “We will reposition floors and areas in Equity House and everybody will be in their new positions on May 3.”
He said this would be a signal to staff that things had changed in Booker, and the message would be communicated through to the branches and to customers.

“On June 14 we have a kick-off for New Booker for 500 people, the branch managers and the key people around the business. We will outline how things will be done and what objectives will be achieved.

“My aim is that by the end of this calendar year our customers will see change. They will see the shape of New Booker.”
One of the changes that will be seen will be some autonomy for branch managers to do deals with key customers.

Hustad said: “Three years ago it was complete anarchy and it could not go on. But what happened is the pendulum swung too far the other way to a rigid system.

“What we need is for the pendulum to swing back to the middle. In the budget for this year we have sorted out resources to allow branches to do deals in a controlled way.”

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