Shaper: Paul Lindley

Show aired on 20th September 2014

Transcript of the show

Paul Lindley loves to explore, dream and discover. He was born in Sheffield, England and grew up in Zambia where his explorations, dreams and discoveries truly began. Graduating from the University of Bristol, he trained and qualified as a Chartered Accountant at KPMG in London and Los Angeles. He then spent 9 years at Nickelodeon UK where he rose from Financial Controller to Deputy CEO via the roles of Chief Financial Officer, Commercial Director, Communications Director and General Manager. These career and character forming years gave him a passion for children’s issues, a deep understanding of how children think.

He thought he had the coolest job in the world until he thought of the idea for Ella’s Kitchen®, and realised that that seed of an idea had to grow. In 2004 he gave up his job to follow his dream and almost 2 years to the day after leaving Nickelodeon, he – together with his daughter Ella – proudly saw their Ella’s Kitchen products on supermarket shelves for the first time. Ella’s Kitchen grew extremely quickly, catching the zeitgeist of our times and really connecting with parents and most importantly kids. The brand launched in Scandinavia and the US in 2009 and has subsequently launched in 12 other territories. In 2013 families spent over $150million on Ella’s Kitchen foods; every half of a second of every day someone, somewhere around the world eats an Ella’s Kitchen product.

Ella’s Kitchen has been recognised as one of Britain’s fastest growing businesses, one that is led by profit AND purpose. In 8 years the company has gone from being a small business to commanding almost 25% of the UK’s baby food market and a significant market presence in the USA and other countries, whilst also becoming a division of a NASDAQ listed company. The Hain Celestial Group Inc acquired Ella’s Kitchen in May 2013. Paul is now CEO of the Global Infant Toddler and Kids division under which Ella’s Kitchen and the leading US organic kids food brand, Earth’s Best® sit.

In 2011 and 2012 Paul won national Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. In 2013 he published an influential report on improving children’s health in the UK – ‘Averting a Recipe for Disaster’ and in March 2014 led a collaboration of government, businesses and communities in Leicester with the report inspired Start Smart pilot programme. Paul sits on the Santander SME advisory board, is an ambassador for the Family and Childcare Trust, he was a Counsellor at One Young World 2013 and he has an honorary doctorate from the University of Reading for his contribution to improving children’s health and his work as an entrepreneur.

Follow Paul Lindley on Twitter @Paul_Lindley

I have this little person in my head that always wanted to do something a bit different

We look at the whole business from a child’s point of view. Children, toddlers, influence so much of what we do.

We bought recipes that other people thought were just weird

I do think that people set big hairy goals; it’s a better thing than to set too low goals and to over-achieve them.

You get to change the world, you get to change the world of business, you get to change the world of food and social impact if you can aim really high.

It is about giving kids a better life through improving their relationship with food.

Our values are about being business-minded, about wanting to win, about thinking differently, about being childlike and about being good to each other.

I also think that I can make little waves by learning a new language or learning to appreciate art or teaching my kids how to ride their bike or learn how to paint.

You know, if I gave a lecture about what you should do in business, my top thing would be to think like a toddler because I think they are fantastic and we can learn so much from them.