If I had to start again ... David Kappler

I considered a career in politics in my youth.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

I was an active young Conservative, and a couple of guys who were in the same group as me went on to become MPs. But the problem with politics is a; the pay is not very good, and b; I'm not sure I could cope with MP's surgery - I don't have enough patience to listen to somebody moan about their neighbour's tree blocking the light from their garden.

I began my career in the bowels of Cadbury's factory in Bourneville, and ended up there again when Cadbury bought Trebor, which I was working for, in 1989. My favourite role at Cadbury, though, was as FD of the confectionary division. I liked having a bit of status - suddenly, when I was out there talking to the operators of businesses around the world, I had real credibility. I could talk to them on their terms.

I can't help but feel sad about the sale of Cadbury to Kraft, although I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner. The situation was created by the demerger of the North American soft drink business, after which Cadbury became a pure confectionary player, enabling someone with deep pockets to buy it. It would have been unlikely if they'd still had products like Dr Pepper and 7up - the prospect of competing with Coke and Pepsi in their own back yard was enough to frighten bidders off.

The only regret I have is that I didn't have a crystal ball at various times in my career to be able to see the future - particularly when it came to Premier Foods' acquisition of RHM in December 2006. The reasons behind it were absolutely correct - it provides the necessary scale in the food-manufacturing sector in this country. But if I'd have known that the price of wheat was going to treble within six months, that sterling was going to deteriorate significantly, or that Lehman's was going to crash just as we wanted to do a fund-raising exercise, the Premier Foods share price would be much higher than it is today.

David Kappler is to stand down as chairman of Premier Foods later this year.

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