Williams’ head of international sales, Gerry Coffey, is retiring after 20 years leading the export team.
Tim Smith, CEO of Williams and Falcon parent company, AFE Group, commented: “Gerry joined Williams in 2001 and has played a key role in establishing our Dubai office and making Williams one of the most successful UK manufacturer teams in the Gulf region.
“I want to thank him personally for the huge contribution he’s made and for the support he has given me, and his colleagues, throughout the past two decades. We all wish him the very best for his retirement.”
Coffey will work with his replacement, Robert Purves, over the coming weeks to ensure a smooth handover.
Purves’ role as international sales manager will involve looking after both Williams and sister company Falcon Foodservice Equipment. He’ll be responsible for export sales, with a remit to focus on the Middle East and Europe.
He well-known in the market, both in the UK and overseas, spending 17 years in the foodservice equipment industry, the last 8 of them as export manager at Falcon.
Purves said: “It’s a privilege to represent two British manufacturers who have great reputations for quality and innovation in product development.
“Export markets are ever more important for us as we look to further expand our business. Williams is a premium brand on the international stage, recognised the world over.”
He will liaise closely with all Williams international companies and is particularly looking forward to working with the Williams Dubai office. “The team there are so well respected,” he said. “We’ve had an office in Dubai that has consistently supported the foodservice industry in the region over a long period of time. It has stayed operating even through the current Covid-19 crisis, maintaining local stock to ensure customers weren’t let down.”
AFE’s Smith commented: “We’re delighted that Robert has taken on this new role. He has exceptional knowledge and experience of AFE’s cooking and refrigeration products.
“He’s the ideal choice to work with our international operations to expand our export business and capture more of the post-Brexit market opportunities in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere.”
When he’s not travelling abroad, Purves will be based in Cheshire, allowing him good access to both the Williams and Falcon factories, in King’s Lynn and Stirling respectively.
Outside of work he’s a sports fan, especially rugby union, and he’s followed Manchester United since moving to the North West in 1997. Although a Scot, he enjoys and even appreciates test cricket.