Quote Unquote- Ian Webster, Sales Manager, Whitakers Chocolates

WM – What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

New product development is the most exciting part of my job, I always look forward to trying new products! Although not all of them get launched, when they do and you have been involved in the process from the start, it’s a great thrill to see the product being purchased by a customer.

Ian Webster, Sales Manager, Whitakers Chocolates

WM – Who’s inspired you most in your career?

My first sales director at Smith & Nephew. He was very old school (no beards allowed!) and set high standards but also empowered people to deliver. He had a strong work ethic and always said “the harder you work, the luckier you get.”

WM – If you were an item in a wholesaler’s stock list, what would you be?

A Whitakers Dark Chocolate Mint Crème.

WM – If you had to do it all over again, what would you do different?

I have been very lucky having worked for some excellent companies and have been involved in launching lots of exciting and interesting new products. The only thing I would do differently is take more holidays!

WM – What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you at work?

Many years ago, when I was a relatively young national account manager, I was asked to take some German customers out for lunch. It was a bit of a rush so I took them to a local hotel called The George. It was 8 May 1995 and it turned out that the hotel was hosting a 50th anniversary event for VE day. Luckily, although we had a few strange looks from some of the veterans present, they took it quite well.

WM –Who or what makes you laugh?

Lots of things, life is too short to take things too seriously all the time. Also, I’m currently reading ‘The Best a Man Can Get’ by John O’Farrell and that’s very funny.

WM – Do you have any hidden talents?

I have been told I make the best omelette ever but unfortunately my cooking skills end there!

WM –Who would be your favourite party guest?

Pele, I would spend the time getting him to teach me how to do keepie uppies.

WM –What is the greatest luxury in your life?

Time, use it wisely and don’t waste it.

WM –What is your favourite guilty pleasure?

Stilton – although I do like most cheeses and would happily miss out the first two courses to go straight to a good cheese board!

WM – Do you have any secret ambitions?

I have always wanted to ride in the Grand National.

WM –What’s your dream holiday destination?

Northumberland. It has fabulous scenery, amazing beaches, historic castles and a cold biting wind even in the summer.

WM –What are your three favourite movies of all time?

Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Braveheart and 2001: A Space Odyssey

WM –What is your favourite book of all time?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

WM –What’s your favourite pastime?

Catching up with old friends.

WM – If you won the Lottery, what would you do?

I would buy some land and set up a commercial chilli farm!

WM –What would be your advice to someone thinking about coming into this industry (apart from “don’t do it”)?

Work hard, you only get out, what you put in. And enjoy it!


Skipton-based Whitakers Chocolates, established in 1889, is the UK’s largest distributor of personalised chocolates and produces more than 10 million chocolates a week with a 150-strong workforce. Run by William, the fourth generation of Whitakers, the business supplies confectionery across the globe. It is renowned for the quality and variety of its products including chocolate neapolitans, creams, crisps, truffles and wafers which are produced in the Whitakers brand and private label packaging.

To take part in Quote Unquote please call: 01923 272960 or email: mail@wholesalemanager.co.uk