A LEADING figure in the agricultural business world in the North is to stand down from his post today (Tuesday, January 7).

Chris Holmes is to end his tenure as non-executive chairman of Carr's at the end of the group's annual general meeting in Carlisle later this morning.

Mr Holmes, who was the subject of a profile in The Northern Farmer last year, has played a leading role in building up the group to its present position. A full statement from the group can be read below.

Carr's (CARR.L), the agriculture and engineering group, has this morning issued a trading update to coincide with its annual general meeting being held in Carlisle today at 11.30 am. As part of its update, the group announces that Chris Holmes will stand down as non-executive chairman at the conclusion of today’s AGM and, subject to shareholder approval, be replaced by Peter Page as previously announced on 9 October 2019.

Outgoing chairman Chris Holmes played an influential role in developing Carr’s from a UK business generating revenues of around £70m to the international business seen today with global revenues in excess of £400m. In that period, the group has firmly established itself as a leading player in the animal nutrition and global supplements markets, through strategic acquisitions, the development of market-leading product ranges, and a focus on international growth; particularly in the USA and Europe.

During his tenure, Chris also oversaw the development of the group’s Engineering Division through notable acquisitions such as Bendalls Engineering in Carlisle, UK, Wälischmiller Engineering in Germany and NuVision Engineering in the USA. Today, the Engineering division generates revenues approaching £50m and contributes around 30% of the Group’s operating profit.

Chris joined Carr’s Group in 1991 as managing director of the agriculture business and became CEO of the group in 1994, a position he held until 2013 when he became chairman. In 2015, the group changed its name from Carr’s Milling Industries plc to Carr’s Group plc, better reflecting the diverse nature of its operations. In 2016, the group divested of its flour milling operations to Whitworths for a gross consideration of £36m. Today, the company benefits from a strong balance sheet with net assets approaching £131m, compared to £12m when Chris took over as CEO in 1994.

Tim Davies, chief executive officer, said: “From a solely domestic UK company on Chris’s arrival, it is notable that close to half of the Group’s total profits today come from its international operations. During Chris’s tenure he oversaw some of the toughest periods UK agriculture has witnessed, including the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in 2001 that caused devastation across British farming. It is testament to Chris’s leadership and vision that Carr’s emerged from this period of stress a stronger and fitter business.

“Chris has been a joy and an inspiration to work with and, on behalf of the entire Board, I’d like to place on record our thanks to him for his time, dedication and energy that he has given to Carr’s Group over the last 29 years, helping shape the successful business that it is today.”