End of an era: Ian Houldsworth Q&A

Ian Houldsworth recently stood down as managing Director of Sammic at the end of 2013, but has put his full-time retirement on hold for the time being in order to mentor the company’s new management team. Catering Insight learns why he’s not ready to cut all his ties with the industry he loves just yet.

So what are the succession plans for Sammic UK following your recent retirement as MD after 30 years in the industry?

One regional sales manager has already been recruited and will be commencing shortly. He has an established sales record and I will be training him and introducing him to my existing network. A further regional sales manager is in the process of being recruited and, again, I will be working with the team to bring them together to build on our recent growth, particularly within the food preparation and warewashing lines.

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Does your retirement signal any other changes in the team?

The strong, experienced team within the UK main office remains unchanged and the Spanish office will continue to guide and support the UK team through this transition. William Wardrop has had great success in his area in the last 12 months, and he will continue in this vein.

What sort of position do you feel you are leaving Sammic in?

One of my aims over the last 12 years as MD has been to establish a high-performing team. Extensive product knowledge and a clear strategy of meeting customer needs and solving their problems have been my main objectives. I really believe that this is my legacy and I am proud to feel that I have succeeded in these aims. Because of this, I honestly feel that the team is perfectly placed to build on its current success and for me to move onto other opportunities — perhaps to do the same for other organisations while continuing support for Sammic from behind the scenes.

What are Sammic’s main strategic objectives for 2014?

There are three main objectives: to build an even stronger sales and operations team to maintain our reputation for product expertise; to take further advantage of the investment that Sammic has made as a group in technology; and to promote our expanded and improving range.

What are your fondest memories and achievements with regards to the industry?

Helping the growth from a cottage, often family-based, industry to a now well-respected sector which contributes to the UK economy and which has established itself as a major employer in this country.

What do you think you will miss most about the industry?

My intention is to continue to be involved in the industry, both through my continued support for Sammic and through other projects and associations in a variety of capacities. I have made many friends over the years and hope to continue those friendships even if I am not working for Sammic in the same capacity!

Are there any regrets you have from your time in the industry?

I wish I could have joined it earlier! It has been a wonderful industry to work in, with wonderful people and we have had some great times together.

And most importantly, how are you planning to spend your retirement?

I want to maintain an involvement in this industry and to be able to feel I can still contribute by using my experience and knowledge to help other companies in a variety of capacities and projects. In particular, exhibitions have played a major part of my career and I hope to attend many more, but I also want to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle and do plenty more travelling.

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