Westlands will be appointing a general manager of horticulture who will report to the group MD Ed Conroy. The Cambridgeshire-based job will focus on driving new product development and strong consumer horticultural offer. This will ensure Westland continue to be the driving force in consumer gardening.
Conroy said: “We want the new person to spearhead our new breeding programme from seed to plant material. We will continue to drive synergies between the two divisions-the horticulture side and dry goods.
Conroy added: “We have a three-year plan and are budgeting to invest for significant growth in the Unwins brand.”
He said Westland plan several launches in 2010 after a successful Glee last month.
New Gardeners’ World presenter Toby Buckland was at Westland’s Ireland factory recently to film with technical director Jamie Robinson. Conroy said: “He seems a really passionate gardener and is going to be a strong voice for the gardening industry. The gardening market needs a new visionary who can communicate to the mass market.”
Conroy added that forthcoming EU pesticide legislation is “a fairly big challenge for all of us but as with all legislation, we as an industry, will find the best solution to work with it. This is exactly the approach we had with the peat debate and the outcome was the market leading West + range.
"I have no concerns about the challenge facing us. In fact, I am extremely positive about the outlook for core gardening and history tells us that during more difficult times, consumers gravitate back towards core gardening”.