The perfect family ingredients: Alland & Robert’s next generation takes the helm
Just a few short months ago, Charles Alland was appointed chairman and CEO of Alland & Robert, taking over the reins from his father Frédéric Alland, who led the business since 1988. Editor Neill Barston quizzes the ingredient firm’s new leader on its key plans
As the company explained, under its new management, the business plans to continue its strategy of developing international markets, including opening up opportunities beyond core fields, which include confectionery and the wider food sector. Prior to taking up his new role, Charles Alland had held the position of deputy general manager within the family business since the end of 2017.
The 30-year-old started his career in consulting, after studying international business. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics with Politics from the University of Buckingham and graduated with a Master of Science in Management from the University College London in 2015.
Q: How have you found the past few months in the role?
A: Since April 2023, I am the CEO of Alland & Robert. Taking over the family business after my father retired came with a sense of pride and responsibility. I feel like the steward of a legacy that has been built by previous generations, and there are also high expectations to uphold the family name and values. This transition process and its context are complex. Ever since the pandemic, the situation in the food industry has been challenging as there have been supply chain issues, price fluctuations and several impacts on supply-chains, including gum acacia.
Q: How has the business coped with the pandemic period?
A: We are continuously working on a diversified supplier base and strong partnerships with our suppliers to increase resilience and flexibility and avoid supply chain disruptions. It is important to proactively assess, plan and address risks in order to be better prepared. In addition, I develop long-term relationships with our clients, with open communication and mutual trust that help navigate challenges more effectively. As I have been involved with the business, I have been able to assist my father for several years and understand the business’s operations, the relationships with employees, suppliers, and customers, and I have adapted to the new role and responsibilities.
Q: What have been your greatest areas of product innovation in recent years?
A: So far, this transition has presented a great opportunity for innovation. I will do my utmost to drive growth in our fast-changing world while maintaining the agility and adaptability of Alland & Robert, which is one of our strengths. This “old” family business (it was founded in 1884) gives me a long-term perspective and that is an advantage: it is the possibility to build upon the foundation laid by previous generations and make strategic decisions that align with a common vision for the business’s future. The line between work and personal life is often very thin. I am lucky that my sister Anne-Sophie is also involved in Alland & Robert as the director of human resources, which create a family dynamic and support in decision-making. This can be both exciting and challenging and needs balance! But there are always several interesting new perspectives for Alland & Robert that are looming on the horizon