GroceryAid appoints Mark Williamson as Interim Chief Executive

PUBLISHED: 13 Mar 2023

GroceryAid today announces the appointment of Mark Williamson as interim Chief Executive following Steve Barnes’ decision to step down after six successful years leading the charity for family reasons.


Mark will take up the role with immediate effect, bringing with him a wealth of experience of over 35 years in the grocery trade. He has held multiple senior leadership positions at Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, and up until 2017, sat on Waitrose’s Management Board for 10 years as their Commercial Director.

Mark has sat on the Board of Trustees since 2016 and has a deep understanding of GroceryAid and the vital work it does. He will step back from his role as a Trustee until a permanent replacement is appointed.

The interim appointment of Mark follows the departure of Steve Barnes this month following an unprecedented period for the grocery and retail sector since the COVID-19 pandemic. Steve has made a significant contribution to GroceryAid over the last six years, not least leading the charity through the pandemic. As Chief Executive, Steve played a key role in launching GroceryAid’s emergency COVID-19 Fund to rapidly support key workers in the industry that were working on the frontline to help feed the nation. We wish him every success as he explores new opportunities.

Amid the ongoing cost of living crisis, GroceryAid’s work of providing vital emotional, practical and financial support services to the industry remains more critical than ever before. GroceryAid today is supporting more people working in the grocery trade than ever before, funded by its generous partners and donors of retailers and grocers. Last year, the charity provided support to a record 28,204 colleagues across the UK, an increase of 61% from the previous year.

As Interim Chief Executive, Mark Williamson will lead the team in its ongoing delivering of support services working alongside the charity’s existing senior leadership team.
The Board of Trustees, chaired by Ruston Smith, has begun the process of recruiting for a permanent Chief Executive, which is expected to conclude over the coming months.

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