Darren Goldney Today Group MD

Darren Goldney is to step down as managing director of Unitas Wholesale

Unitas Wholesale managing director Darren Goldney is to step down from the role after three and a half years.

Set to leave the business in April, he will be succeeded by the current sales and marketing director, John Kinney.

According to a statement by the wholesale group, the appointment of Kinney is to “drive the organisation into the next phase of its development” utilising his “unrivalled knowledge of the company”.

Kinney has been with the organisation since 2011 and was retail director prior to his appointment to the role of sales and marketing director.

In a statement announcing his departure, Goldney said: “It is difficult to express how proud I am of our achievements over the last three years, not just in what we’ve managed to bring together for members but also in the way we have collaborated to achieve positive change across our business.

“Together, Unitas members are becoming a more effective and focused route to market that recognises suppliers are also customers – and that all customers need a champion of independents and brands.”

Goldney listed some of the changes made during his tenure as managing director.

“We’ve step-changed our use of technology, driven down operating costs, our members’ sales have grown collectively, and we have expanded the services we offer to both members and suppliers in reaching the near 200,000 customers we serve.”

He added: “I am immensely proud of the staff and my team, and I am extremely thankful to the board and members for their support. That ‘change agenda’ has been the most invigorating of my career – and it has inspired me to take my Unitas experience and passion for leadership to find the right new and fresh challenge.

“I am delighted that John will be leading the organisation as it evolves, becomes even more focused on its core purposes of delivering value for its stakeholders, and further grows its reputation as the UK wholesale industry leader in these extraordinary times of uncertainty and unprecedented challenge. John has the insight, capability, drive and depth of character to lead Unitas Wholesale in the next phase of its journey.”

Unitas chairman Simon Hannah paid tribute to Goldney’s achievements. “Darren has played an enormous role over the last few years and earned widespread respect not just as a business leader but also for his integrity and passion.

“His input is undoubtedly going to be missed by Unitas, however, as a group of entrepreneurial leaders ourselves we respect his ambition and desire to set himself new challenges and seek new opportunities – we say goodbye to him with the warmest of wishes for the future and our thanks for leading the group to its current position of success and strength.

“The board is delighted that John Kinney will now take up our main leadership role – we are confident that his drive and strategic thinking will be extremely valuable in a rapidly changing and competitive landscape. Darren and John will continue to work together to ensure that Unitas Wholesale maintains its momentum and delivers for both its members and suppliers in the build-up to Darren’s departure in April.”

Commenting on his new role as managing director, John Kinney said: “I am extremely pleased to be given the opportunity by the Unitas board to lead the organisation forward. This is a great business with a fantastic opportunity to grow and improve further. While there are challenges for our members servicing the out of home sector due to the impact of Covid, I am confident in the future for the group and I am looking forward to working with all our members and suppliers to maximise the opportunities for all.”