This swap is just the job

One is the business leader behind a famous East Anglian brew, the other a leading educationist who shapes the minds of tomorrow's captains of industry.

One is the business leader behind a famous East Anglian brew, the other a leading educationist who shapes the minds of tomorrow's captains of industry.

But yesterday, the figureheads of two of Southwold's most famous old institutions found themselves in very unfamiliar surroundings.

Adnams boss Andy Wood and St Felix School headteacher David Ward chose to swap jobs for the day to find out what life would be like in each other's shoes.

The pair came up with the idea when they met at a function last Christmas, as a way of seeing new approaches to leadership, communication and organisation from a different viewpoint.

And after their bizarre day at the office, they met at Adnams' new eco-friendly distribution centre on Halesworth Road, Southwold, to share notes on their experience.

Mr Wood, who has been managing director of Adnams since last April, began his day by overseeing a prep school assembly.

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"They put on a show for the parents, which was fantastic. It was a great way to start the day as acting headmaster. Then I took part in a Year Seven cookery exam, which I failed miserably. My wife would be horrified."

But Mr Wood explained there was a serious reason behind the swap.

"Even though David is the head of a school and I am a managing director, we're both selling a product. To achieve that at a high quality you need motivated people and real clarity of vision. That is what I saw at St Felix, and what we commit to here.

"Anything that stimulates the grey matter is good."

Headteacher Mr Ward found himself in charge of a brewery distribution centre which despatches 80 lorry-loads of beer a week.

"I think what we've done is quite unique," he said. "The change has been wonderful - you can see something different and talk to different people."

Despite swapping 410 St Felix pupils for 300 Adnams staff, Mr Ward found many similarities between the two organisations.

"We are the two largest employers in Southwold, and we have lots in common - things like marketing, IT and the delivery of communication.

"Andy had to meet governers and parents at the school - that's customer service, face to face."

Mr Ward met buyers, pub tenants and a representative from Defra.

"And we had a pint of Adnams, of course," he said.