The headquarters of Sam McCauley Chemists Ltd will be moving from Wexford in the New Year according to senior management within the company.
When contacted about the matter by this newspaper on Friday the company’s CEO in Wexford, Tony McEntee, confirmed that staff members were informed about the development at a meeting at the company’s HQ in Ardcavan.
Last year the company, which is the third largest pharmacy retail chain in the country, was taken over by a private equity fund, Carlyle Cardinal Investment Fund (CCI).
As part of that development Mr McEntee, who lives in Co Meath, took over as CEO of the company.
‘We have had consultation with our staff about the possibility of moving our supply office to Dublin,’ he said.
However, he added the company’s overall commitment to Wexford in terms of its retail outlets remains firm.
‘We are committed to Wexford and we have new shops in Wexford and Enniscorthy and the relocation of our premises in New Ross,’ he said.
He emphasised the company’s ongoing sponsorship of the Rapparee’s GAA club and said it’s about to launch a new scholarship programme for pharmacy students in Wexford.
‘This is where our heritage is and it’s where we have most of our stores,’ said Mr McEntee.
However, he said the reason that a recommendation was made to the Board to move the supply operation out of the county was down to the apparent lack of suitably qualified people to fill roles within sales and marketing.
When asked about the time-frame involved in any potential move Mr McEntee first said it’s ‘highly likely’ to happen and will take place by the end of March.
He emphasised that the reason for the move is that there are not enough suitably qualified people within the sales and marketing sector available in Wexford.
There are currently 30 staff employed at the business headquarters and Mr McEntee said the company wants ‘to retain everyone’. He also commented that Sam McCauley Chemists Ltd is known for being a responsible employer.
However, any move out of the county is likely to discommode staff members in a major way – some of whom have worked with the company for many years.
‘We are a growing company and we need to bulk up our sales and marketing side,’ said Mr McEntee.
‘We need to find a team of online marketers and we are struggling to recruit people locally,’ he added.
‘We are in an economy of full employment and to recruit [for] the specialist resources we require has been proving difficult in the locality.’
Mr McEntee confirmed that the plan is to move the base of operations closer to Dublin and while he didn’t wish to confirm a location it’s believed the company is looking at a possible re-location to the City West area.
‘As a business we need to grow and we need talent to grow,’ said Mr McEntee.
He emphasised specialised skills in the areas of sales, marketing and online marketing as being particularly important to the company.
The news that staff couldn’t be sourced locally came as a surprise to Karl Fitzpatrick, the former President of Wexford Chamber and the man who runs the Chevron recruitment agency in Wexford.
He expressed grave concern at the idea that Wexford could be regarded as a place where talent isn’t available.
‘It could do phenomenal damage to the county in terms of attracting new business to the area,’ he said.
He said 30 per cent of people qualified within the marketing sector in Wexford travel outside the county for work.