It's all change at the Devon-based family company, Axminster Tools & Machinery with Alan Styles having been recently appointed to the top job.
The eldest son of Bernie and Marjorie Styles, Alan has now taken over from his uncle Ian Styles as managing director and will head up the company, which has over 290 employees and eight retail stores.
Alan is well qualified to take on this role having attained a degree in Business & Finance and an MBA, and has been with the company since leaving university almost 20 years ago. During this period he has worked in virtually every area including customer service, retail and servicing, gaining a detailed understanding of the business. He has held the positions of customer services manager, office manager, purchasing director and most recently sales director, and has seen the company grow rapidly since he joined.
He said: "Gaining the relevant qualifications, experience and more importantly learning from colleagues, customers and other industries over the years, has given me good grounding for this business, so I believe I am very engaged with the function and operation of the company. In my role as a director I have also had the opportunity to visit many of our customers which I feel has given me a real insight to our market."
Alan paid tribute to his uncle, saying: "I feel humbled at taking on the role from Ian and would like to thank him for his dedication to it. I am passionate about our company, our products, customers, processes and people and I am strongly committed to its success in the future. Ian will still be very much involved at Board level, as he has been at the helm for a very long time, holds a wealth of knowledge and, along with my family and other Board members, has made this company what it is today."
Alan went on to say: "We do have a strong name for customer values, knowledge and availability. This is backed up by a strong ethos of service and honesty which is supported by the loyal and enthusiastic people I work with. Our processes and operation are impressive, but there's always room for improvement so I will be working with all areas to see what improvements we can make on an ongoing basis."
Axminster Tools & Machinery was founded in 1972 by Alan's grandfather Ron Styles and the late Graham Brown, and first traded from retail premises in Axminster town centre. More than forty years on, the company is now a successful multi-million pound business with just under 300 employees, a strong online presence, a string of ever-increasing retail outlets and a field sales force selling to prestigious organisations such as Pinewood Studios, Ascot Racecourse, The National Trust and Sunseeker (yachts).