Jeff Halliwell, managing director of turkey giant Bernard Matthews, is leaving the company just over a year after being appointed.


He is resigning from his post with effect from 13 August. Bernard Matthews Holdings said that he is leaving to pursue other interests.

Since becoming MD in June last year, Mr Halliwell has overseen a series of major changes, including the launch of a £5m TV and PR campaign, which promoted the health benefit of turkeys and brought back the phrase “bootiful”.

Celebrity chef Marco Pierre White was recruited as a brand ambassador – a move which attracted wide media attention for the company and Pierre White.

Bernard Matthews’ group chief executive Noel Bartram said the company was initiating the search for a successor: “On behalf of the board I would like to thank Geoff for his contribution to the ongoing recovery programme, which continues to show encouraging results. We wish him all the best for the future,” he said.

Bernard Matthews, he added, was well-positioned to achieve continuing growth over the next period. In June the company posted a return to profit, making £2.4m on a £330m turnover. This was after multi-million pound losses in 2007 in the wake of the avian flu crisis.

Prior to joining the company, Mr Halliwell had worked for First Milk, Britain’s largest cheese manufacturer; he has also worked with Colgate, Palmolive, Mars and Northern Foods.