Who’s Who 2023: Mark Taylor, CEO, Lactalis Canada
By Treena HeinFood In Canada Editor pick Lactalis Canada Who's Who
CEO Mark Taylor focuses on innovation, nurturing internal talent, and optimizing infrastructure
Leadership in modernization and employee engagement, financial acumen, and a humble outlook—this is just some of what Mark Taylor brought with him from the U.K. in 2018 when he became president and CEO of Lactalis Canada.
“Whilst my job title is president, I’m a big supporter of servant-leadership,” Taylor says. “I work for a great team of people. It’s not just about the products, but also about putting employees first and the opportunity to have greater and greater impacts across society. My team and I take that very seriously.”
Food production was always a part of Taylor’s life. During his youth in rural England, he worked on all sorts of farms during school holidays. By the time he’d finished high school, he was helping run farms in both the U.K. and overseas. After university, he worked for several dairy companies in the U.K. (and outside dairy, in software), then joined Lactalis to run the company’s U.K. and Ireland operations in 2014.
“It was a great experience, and I had the opportunity to contribute to larger aspects of our food system as well,” Taylor says. “In 2012, I helped draft the U.K. Agriculture and Food Strategy, and also worked with Innovate UK, which supports research in food, medicine and environment. It was all very enjoyable and rewarding.”
During those years, Taylor also finished the University of Cambridge Natural Capital Leaders Program and served as chair of HRH The Prince of Wales Dairy Action Group Committee (part of the Rural Action Program), which works to build resiliency in food production and rural communities.
From U.K. to Canada
In 2018, Taylor was offered the opportunity to lead Lactalis Canada (then Parmalat). He has overseen three acquisitions since. Lactalis Canada now employs more than 4,200 employees across 30 plus operating sites including 19 manufacturing facilities. Lactalis products can be found in nine out of 10 refrigerators across the nation.
Under Taylor’s leadership, Lactalis Canada continues to win new product awards and invest in its infrastructure and people. The company is also working to build a more resilient supply chain, reduce environmental impact and build even stronger employee engagement.
One example is the Lactalis Canada Next Ventures, an internal crowdsourcing innovation program to bring to market new products, processes, technologies, or business models.
“There were 120 great ideas last year under our inaugural theme of waste reduction, which is fantastic,” says Taylor. “We also have the Lactalis Canada Community Enrichment Fund, a program for employees to make meaningful impact in their local communities.”
Taylor also continues to help shape the Grocery Code of Conduct for Canada and serves on the board of Food, Health and Consumer Products of Canada, and the Grocery Foundation. He was recently appointed to the Kids Help Phone’s Feel Out Loud campaign cabinet, one of the largest movements for youth mental health in Canada’s history.
“It’s very important to me and our leadership team that we continue to live our purpose to enrich and nurture the lives of Canadians, while meeting consumers needs and constantly innovating,” Taylor says. “We are proud of our progress, with more to come.”
This article was originally published in the April/May 2023 issue of Food in Canada.
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