Suttons Saudi Arabia

Sutton's Middle East operation

The Hub went to visit out-going Sutton & Sons group managing director Andrew Palmer, and new boss John Sutton last week. Sutton has some pretty big shoes to fill at the company he shares a name with...

When Palmer re-joined the firm in February 2005 it is fair to say it was in a bad state. It was making losses and had been hauled before the traffic commissioners on a couple of occasions. Now it is a multinational firm with interests in China, the USA and Saudi Arabia - to name but three.

A lot of things have been said about Andrew Palmer but there is no doubting one thing. He gets results. The Hub can't see Palmer just putting his feet up in front of Countdown every afternoon once he retires at the end of April. He's staying on as a non-executive director - and we presume that is one who is available on the end of a telephone at a moments notice.

But John Sutton has a CV that is more than just his surname. He's been in charge of its International business since 2006 - a division that earns more money for Thomas Cradley Holdings than its UK operations.

Sutton can't take his eye off the ball of its domestic business however - particularly as the pair say they are looking to add to its food ingredients interests, which currently consists largely of a contract with British Sugar.

Could we see Sutton & Sons dip into the not inconsiderable sums it has in the bank and make an acquisition? Palmer and Sutton say yes. Many have made such promises, but few have delivered...