Colin was born in Derby and in the early 80s he worked for Rolls Royce Aerodivision on engine modification until joining another local company, Hazlewood Foods, as a management trainee.
At the age of 26 appointed as a subsidiary operating Director, the youngest person to be promoted to that level. During this period he developed a broad hands-on experience of operations, finance, sales and marketing and eventually specialising in general management. In 1990 he was part of a team who completed a MBO of Hazlewood Confectionery and Snacks Division for £65m, which was then sold to Cadbury in 1995.
When Hazlewood was acquired by Greencore plc, this presented the opportunity to buy out one of its non-core business activities, Tranfield Foods, and he became Chairman of the Company whilst simultaneously taking on a new intellectual challenge in the mobile telecommunications industry. As Managing Director of one of John Caudwell’s operating companies, he led the operational recovery and was instrumental in leading his team during the successful sale of the operation to Vodafone for £425m. He remained with Vodafone and managed the integration into the group aligning operating practises and culture whilst achieving £365m of EBITDA in its first full year.
On completion of the Vodafone initiative, he declined an opportunity for further responsibility to complete the Tranfield strategy. With a clear vision and expansion plan, Tranfield became a market leader within its sector increasing sales via organic growth and acquisition from £18m in 2003 to £140m in 2008 when it was sold to Vion a large continental food processor.
He now sits on the board of several companies as Chairman/Non Executive Director in sectors as diverse as ladies fashion, financial services, mobile telecommunications, children’s wear and food manufacturing and also assists private equity companies.
Experience at formal board meetings extends to being appointed a director of a Hazlewood subsidiary at 26 and now adds up to an estimated 5000 hours with at least 20% of this time in the Chairman’s role.
Current non-executive chairman’s roles include:
Name Your Number Ltd – Mobile Telecommunications
Splash About International – Children’s sportswear
Bridgewood Financial Services Ltd
The Brand Cloud Ltd – Health and beauty
Abbeydale Food Group Ltd
Young Ideas Ltd – Ladies designer fashion.