O’Driscoll to step down at Clearly Drinks

Finn O’Driscoll is to step down as chief executive of private equity-backed soft drinks manufacturer Clearly Drinks, following a period of exceptional growth at the Sunderland-based business.

Since joining the company in February 2016, Finn has overseen considerable expansion for Clearly Drinks. Bolstered by the signing of numerous major contracts with high street retailers and supermarkets, the company has seen double-digit turnover growth in each of the last two years, with the business now producing in excess of 85 million bottles per year.

Finn was also integral in helping the business secure investment from private equity house NorthEdge Capital in April 2017. Since then, Clearly Drinks has invested heavily in its Sunderland factory and equipment, creating 30 new jobs to push headcount past 100.

Last month, the company completed a bolt-on acquisition of the IP and distribution rights for the Powerful Water Company (POW), which will enable the business to expand its offering to include a focus on delivering healthier functional beverages.

Clearly Drinks is a soft drinks manufacturer and bottler operating in the fast-growing flavoured sugar-free spring water sector. The company specialises in sugar-free products, with brands including Perfectly Clear, 1870 Mixers and Northumbria Spring, all of which are sourced from the firm’s on-site spring.

Finn will retain a stake in the business, as well as continuing to act as an advisor to Clearly Drinks until the end of the year.

Finn O’Driscoll said: “The last two and a half years has been an incredible journey, both for Clearly Drinks and myself. From accessing financial backing for expansion to our first strategic acquisition last month, the business has been through a significant period of development.

“Since coming on board last year, the team at NorthEdge have worked hard to put in place a clear growth strategy, and now feels like a natural time to hand over the reins. I want to thank the team at Clearly Drinks for their dedication and commitment and wish the business every success in the future.”

Nicola McQuaid, investment manager at NorthEdge, said: “Finn has been the driving force behind the success of Clearly Drinks in the last two and a half years. His intimate knowledge of the sector has enabled the business to secure lucrative new contracts, which has had a direct result both on the financial growth of the company and the local jobs market.

“We would like to thank Finn for his work with the business, and he will remain an invaluable source of advice and guidance to us in the coming months as we continue to implement our ongoing growth plan.”