Belfast Telegraph

New female chief takes the reins at SHS Group

By Margaret Canning

Another Northern Ireland company has a woman at the helm after Elaine Birchall was appointed to lead SHS Group.

Ms Birchall has leaped from Imperial Leather soap at PZ Cussons to WKD and Shloer at SHS Group - becoming just the sixth female chief executive in the Belfast Telegraph's Top 100 Companies.

The Dublin City University graduate succeeds Michael Howard following seven years at PZ Cussons, most recently as Africa area director. She has 20 years international business experience.

SHS Group owns a vast range of consumer brands from alcopop WKD to premium soft drink Shloer and Maguire & Paterson Matches, and is a sales and marketing agent for Ryvita, Nivea and others.

Ms Birchall said: "I am honoured and excited by the chance to build on the great achievements the SHS Group has secured in recent years and lead such a successful and committed team. We have earned an enviable position within the market due to our ability to develop brands to their potential and forge strong relationships with strategic partners."

SHS Group has annual turnover of over £400m across four divisions - drinks, condiments and sauces, SHS sales and marketing and corporate services.

She joins five other women in the Belfast Telegraph's Top 100 Companies, from number one company leader Janet McCollum of Moy Park, Progressive Building Society chief Darina Armstrong, NI Water's Sara Venning, Ulster Bank's Ellvena Graham and Anne Higgins, who leads Alliance Boots in Northern Ireland.

Joe Sloan, co-founder and chairman of SHS Group, said Ms Birchall was "an extremely important addition".

He added: "She brings a great depth of knowledge in our current and prospective markets and shares our ambition to push towards the next phase of our development."

Roseann Kelly, chief executive of Women in Business in Northern Ireland, said: "I'm thrilled to hear that another one of our top companies has appointed a female as its chief executive. I look forward to meeting Elaine and congratulating her on her appointment."

Belfast Telegraph