Adrian Hayler, who has joined as a Friend of the Guild, was appointed earlier this year to handle sales and marketing of agricultural varieties at Elsoms Seeds.
“I was flattered to be offered the chance to join a company with the reputation of Elsoms,” comments Adrian. “As well as having a strong heritage, Elsoms has an exciting range of varieties coming to market over the next few years from its own breeding programmes and from European partners, so there’s a lot of work to be done.”
Having spent the first half of his career in the seed and grain trade, initially with Dalgety and latterly with Johnsons Seeds, Adrian spent 12 years working as a category manager looking after accounts such as M&S, Tesco and ASDA in the produce sector.
“Looking after the major retailers developed my commercial skills and broadened my experience of growers around the world,” says Adrian. “I was lucky enough to be involved in some great projects but among there are some highlights; such as helping Next develop its home delivery flower business; introducing sea freight cherries from Argentina to replace airfreighting for M&S; successfully introducing Finest Melons into Tesco; and helping UK growers establish the Kanzi apple variety with M&S.”
Outside agribusiness and produce, Adrian has worked on the conception and successful launch of Arbordeck timber decking and the development and launch of a retail point of display system.
“I have always enjoyed the buzz of a successful product launch,” says Adrian. “Getting the ‘Strong Vision’ display system into major retailers for a small Lincolnshire manufacturer was immensely satisfying whilst designing decks at Gardner’s World Live with an audience watching on large plasma screens certainly concentrated the mind!”
Having grown up in a farming environment in Lincolnshire, Adrian spent two summers working in Scandinavia as a student and gained an HND in Agricultural Marketing & Business Administration at Harper Adams University. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management, and gained a Diploma in Management Studies from Kingston University as part of Dalgety’s management development programme; more recently he completed an Open Degree with the Open University.
“Although I spent the early part of my career in southern England, I returned to Lincolnshire in 1997 and stayed there with my family ever since,” says Adrian. “I’ve been a keen rugby and hockey player but now have an enthusiasm for cycling and take part in Sleaford Wheelers club runs and time trials for recreation.”