East Yorkshire poultry business recruits from within for MD’s role

Nigel Upson and Ben Lee

A Middleton on the Wolds based family poultry firm has recruited its next MD from within the business. 

Soanes Poultry’s board of directors has appointed former director of sales and marketing, Ben Lee to succeed Nigel Upson on his retirement after a ten-year tenure. 

Mr Lee, 32, joined the family business in 2008 after completing his A Levels at Driffield School. He has worked in all areas of the business from production to sales in a variety of roles and was appointed to the senior management tTeam as head of sales and marketing in 2019 and to the main board as director of sales and marketing in 2021. 

“I have a great team around me and am grateful for the opportunities that I have been given. I’m looking forward to developing the team and guiding the business sustainably to the next level for our employees and for future generations of the Soanes family,” said mr Lee. 

Mr Upson joined Soanes Poultry in 2012 and was credited with returning the business to sustainable  profit in 2014 which allowed significant investment in infrastructure, quality, personnel and marketing. He will remain with Soanes in a business support role until his official retirement in 2023, with Mr Lee assuming overall responsibility with immediate effect. 

“I have every confidence that Ben has the necessary skills to deliver the next chapter in the 75-year history of Soanes Poultry successfully. He is knowledgeable in all areas of the business, is well respected by colleagues, customers and suppliers alike, and always has the best interests of the business at the heart of his decision making. 

“Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to playing a supporting role as I plan for my retirement which will be spent resurrecting old hobbies, learning new skills, volunteering and exploring the UK with my wife,” said Mr Upson.

Mr Lee grew up in Middleton on the Wolds, where his father, Graham is still a gamekeeper, lives with his wife and daughter in Driffield. When he’s not working, he enjoys spending time with his family and is a passionate cook. 

Soanes Poultry was founded by Tom Soanes and has been rearing and preparing chicken for 75 years. It has a reputation for high welfare and sustainable practice and sells chicken to butchers and independent retailers throughout Yorkshire and to wholesalers and catering butchers nationwide.

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