Q&A Interview with Stuart Fleet, Managing Director (Powys) and W.Howard’s Group Commercial Director.

During W.Howard’s recent board restructure, Simon Fleet became Managing Director of W.Howard Powys, as well as retaining his previous title as W.Howard’s Group Commercial Director. We caught up with Simon to find out what that means and to get a taste of the new products that are coming down the line.

Now that you’ve become Managing Director of W.Howard Powys, how have your roles and responsibilities changed?

While I still have my commercial hat on for the entire Group as Commercial Director, my new title of Managing Director at Powys means I’ve taken responsibility for our veneered and wrapped products, all of which are manufactured at our Powys site in Wales.

Part of that change is to take on some of Phil’s previous operational responsibilities for those products (Phil Tissington, now Managing Director of W.Howard UK), but it also means that there is a single person, ie me, now responsible for growing and developing the wrapped and veneered parts of the business, where we believe there are a lot of growth opportunities out there.

That’s quite a large responsibility. Have any other changes been introduced to help support you with that?

Yes. Tony Boon joined us as National Sales Manager just a few months ago. He now manages the Group’s day-to-day sales, including overseeing the external and internal sales teams. Tony has a mountain of experience from 19 years at Jeld-Wen, so he really knows the industry and has already been a big help.

Tony is now responsible for the white primed product sales, and Jake Cintra has been made responsible for the sales at Powys, and both report to me. I also oversee the Group Marketing team.

How have you found the role so far?

From my point of view, it’s really exciting to have the opportunity to learn more than just the commercial side of the business, which was my primary focus before. We have some really strong plans to grow Powys and a real pipeline of new veneered and wrapped products that we want to introduce over the coming months and years, including the Wall Panelling and Shaker Sets that we’ve just launched.

They are a great example of how we believe the business can grow – building on our well-proven expertise and reputation for high-quality products to offer our customers something different.

One of the great things about the restructure is that whereas before my time was split across all our UK sites, now I’m over with the Powys team far more often, which gives me much more time and the opportunity to plan our long term growth strategy for the Powys business, and to develop it fully in the way we believe it can grow.

This is something we’ve always wanted to do, but just never had the time or opportunity to do, so that’s where my focus is now – build on the strong foundations that we have at Powys and all our market leading products, and continue moving in the right direction. It’s going to be fun, without a shadow of a doubt!