Ag Barr, the maker of the iconic Scottish drink Irn Bru, stepped outside the family gene pool in choosing a chief executive yesterday for the first time in its 174-year history.
Robin Barr, the 66-year-old executive chairman, will hand the executive reins to Roger White, the managing director, next month. Mr Barr, whose ancestor, Robert, started the business as a cork-cutting venture in 1830, will continue as chairman but only on a part-time basis.
Mr White, 38, has been groomed to succeed Mr Barr since he joined the group from RHM, the bread maker, in 2002. He denied that being the first outsider at the helm would be an excessive burden to bear. "It's daunting from a history point of view but I've been here for 18 months now and I know how the business works, so it's not really that daunting," he said.
The boardroom shuffle was announced alongside an upbeat trading update, which said the group's full-year results would meet City forecasts.
Mr White said Irn Bru - a popular hangover cure in Scotland, where it is the top-selling grocery product - was still proving a big hit in Russia. The company also makes Tizer and distributes Orangina and Lipton Ice Tea in the UK.