I found Ian a communicative and informed leader, who worked very hard to find a solution, but was faced with a number insurmountable issues generated by the economy and the sales position of a number of the manufacturers that Birkby's supplied. Unfortunately there was no solvent solution as an independent company and no trade buyer came forward at a cost acceptable to the customer group.


Four Director shareholders wished to move on and believed the best route to value would be through an MBO transaction selling the company to four senior managers and an external candidate to be the future Chief Executive. The main task was to structure a deal, obtain bank support, obtain pension trustee and tPR clearance for the transaction (FRS 17 deficit around £350k) and complete within four months.

Actions and results

  • Led MBO completing deal within four months securing bank & OEM support
  • Implemented MBO plan retaining existing OEM clients, forming a JV in Turkey and securing technology agreements with supply partners in Japan
  • Drove business development with automotive OEMs (Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, JLR & BMW)
  • Delivered new business in niche industrial sectors and industrial packaging
  • Rapidly restructured following the Lehman collapse, reducing headcount by 48% (240+ employees)
  • Led the business through a dramatic reduction in OEM demand and 2011 disaster related slowdowns at Honda and Toyota