During W.Howard’s recent board restructure, Stuart Murray’s role as Group Finance Director expanded to cover business growth and acquisition. We found out what that means for him and the business going forward.

Q. How do these recent changes affect you?
Although the core of my role remains the same, the wider changes and investments are having a positive impact on my role and the business. I am still responsible for the Group’s finances, but we are also investing more in the business, its structure and new ventures, allowing me to have more emphasis on longer-term strategic growth plans.

Q. What does that mean for the team?
The recent restructure is about investing in the whole Group and making sure each part of the business has the right management experience. Every business now has a dedicated head who will focus on that one business, to help it develop. But the strength of the Group is that they don’t have to do that on their own – there’s so much knowledge in the management team and we can all draw on each other’s experience.
On the financial side, we’ve recently employed a Finance Controller at Powys, so there’s now a financial professional at each site – the new Controller at Powys, and the teams in Manchester and over in Kildare. We’re giving each division the resources they need, and recruiting where more support would be beneficial.

Q. You’ve been with W.Howard for 10 years now. How has the business changed?
When I first joined there were really only two businesses in the group – W.Howard and Polyco. We have expanded and diversified a lot since, and I think that’s 100% for the better. It has made us stronger overall, widening the group’s investments and providing a stable and bright future for the business and all our staff.
At every step we have taken there has been a considered and well-thought-out plan, so while we’ve certainly made some bold decisions, each one has been based on our core expertise and ability. We have focused on buying and acquiring businesses not just in markets that we know, but in those we can adapt to using machinery, people and processes we are familiar with.

Q. Do you think W.Howard will continue to expand?
Yes, as there are some really exciting opportunities out there right now, some of which we are working on and due to launch in 2024. Looking further ahead, as part of my expanded role I will be on the lookout for investment opportunities where we can continue to grow and diversify. I am confident we can add more new businesses and sites, while implementing our investment plans for existing W.Howard entities, allowing them to continue to grow and be the excellent businesses they are now. I’d say W.Howard is in a great place in terms of its ability to grow and take advantage of opportunities - probably the best it’s been for a long time. We have some really solid foundations we can push forward with, the right team in place and the right external stakeholders, so that is a very exciting place to be.