New boss brings fresh approach to South Shields family butchers Dicksons

Michael Dickson has handed over the role of  managing director to Chris Hayman.
Michael Dickson has handed over the role of managing director to Chris Hayman.
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A family-based business has appointed a non-family member to take over the reigns for the first time in its 63-year history.

Chris Hayman has been named as the new managing director of Dicksons Pork Butchers after Michael Dickson moved into the role of executive chairman.

Passing operational matters over as the first non-family managing director of the company has been a process rather than an event.

Michael Dickson

It is the first time someone from outside the family has held the position in the South Shields-based company’s history.

Mr Dickson has been at the helm of the business for more than 25 years – taking it from a small group of shops in South Tyneside to a thriving food manufacture and retailing business employing over 300 staff.

Mr Dickson said: “It’s been commonly accepted for some time by staff, colleagues and family that we would make such an appointment to allow me to move to the role of company chairman.

“Given how integrated Chris is within Dicksons and how involved he has been in the future strategy of the business, passing 
operational matters over as the first non-family managing director of the company has been a process rather than an event.”

He added: “This is an appointment we’ve planned for several years and which was the main driver behind the formation of a family (shareholder) council in 2008.

“The council was set up with the clear intention of maintaining family participation and ownership, while accepting the business might not remain under close day-to-day family direction.

“My daughter Elena remains in a senior-level role as marketing director and son, Dr Matthew Dickson, is current chairman of the family council.”

Mr Hayman previously worked at multi-national food giant McDonalds for more than 16 years before joining Dicksons in 2014 to manage its retail division.

The firm says his management skills, extensive food retailing experience and “chemistry” with staff has given the company a fresh new approach after 63 years serving the North East.

He said: “When I first arrived at Dicksons, the change in culture from a multi-national to a much-loved family business was a revelation, but one which I embraced wholeheartedly.

“The business has gone from strength to strength over the past few years and modifications to our retail model and new shops have brought us to a new audience eager to try both the traditional and new products.”