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Following a process of peer nomination and an industry vote, Richard Bedford,Packaging Operations Director for Diageo has been awarded the European Manufacturing Leadership Award 2015.

This yearly Award was originally launched to celebrate 10 years of the European Manufacturing Strategies Summit last year – and is designed to recognise an individual who has demonstrated pioneering leadership in driving excellence, performance and competitiveness within European manufacturing. Mr Bedford joins the recipient of the inaugural 2014 Award, Rob Karsmakers of Philips, in the European Manufacturing Leadership Hall of Fame.

As the Packaging Operations Director for Diageo’s International Supply Centre, Mr Bedford is responsible for the management and direction of Diageo’s packaging plants across Europe. Diageo’s ISC packaging operations produce over 125 million cases of spirits, beer and wine every year across brands such as Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan’s, Bailey’s and Guinness.  The operation employs 2,500 people across 55 packaging lines.

During his two years in the role, Mr Bedford has launched and led a Manufacturing Excellence review across all packaging sites that has delivered a significant step change in performance, processes and capabilities across all seven European sites.  The programme has driven packaging line efficiency improvements of 26% over two years and improvements in quality and safety performance of over 80%. He has described his motivation at work as being to give everyone in his organisation the chance to fulfil their own potential and to lead happy, rewarding and fulfilling lives. He is also renowned for having a passion for improving performance through building capabilities and optimising processes and practices, which has been a contributing factor in him receiving this industry Award.

Prior to his role as Packaging Operations Director, Mr Bedford ran the largest Diageo packaging site at Leven in Scotland and has also held senior operations roles within Diageo in Scotch whisky distillation, blending and warehousing and in Guinness brewing.

Mr Bedford will be officially presented with the Award at the 11th Annual European Manufacturing Leadership Award Gala Dinner on the evening of Tuesday 27th October at the 11th Annual European Manufacturing Strategies Summit 2015.

The shortlist of industry heavyweights, included Dr Armin Metzger, Senior Vice President, Head of Global Biotech Manufacturing and Development for Merck Serono; and Frédéric Lorscheider, Senior Vice President - Manufacturing and Engineering for Thales Alenia Space.

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