End of an era as Cooper prepares to exit TLG

Jo Francis
Thursday, November 12, 2020

Long-standing Lettershop director Simon Cooper will leave the business at the end of the year.

Cooper: started at 16 with an apprenticeship at TLG
Cooper: started at 16 with an apprenticeship at TLG

Cooper joined the business as an apprentice in 1987, straight from school, and has worked at the Leeds-based DM specialist, known as The Lettershop Group or TLG, for more than 32 years.

His technical prowess and talent for innovation resulted in him becoming technical director under the firm’s former owner John Hornby, and he then went on to become joint managing director alongside Dave McGolpin.

McGolpin left the business in November 2017, but remains a shareholder and non-executive director.

Cooper will step down at the end of the year and will be replaced by business development director Alistair Ezzy, who joined YM from Go Inspire Solutions in February 2019.

YM Group chief executive Stephen Goodman told Printweek that Cooper’s departure was amicable.

He said: “I would like to thank Simon for his considerable contribution over many years at The Lettershop.  Whilst Simon was undoubtedly a key driving force at the company over recent times, I am confident the company will continue to prosper with the strong and capable management team that Simon helped to shape. We wish Simon the best for the future.”  

Cooper said his route into print came about because his late mother had heard glowing reports about the printing industry from a neighbour, who was a manager at Jarvis Porter. 

“She spotted an electronic engineering apprenticeship vacancy advertised in the Yorkshire Evening Post at TLG in 1987," he recalled.

“I turned up for my first and to this day only interview at 16 years old. During the interview I was tasked to rebuild a door lock that had been disassembled into pieces and left inside a box. Having never done this before, I rebuilt it displaying a logic/problem solving ability that I never knew I possessed. This not only helped me get the job but it has never left my side.

“I then went onto design and build much of the equipment over the years at TLG and it only appears like yesterday,” he said.

In a joint statement with Goodman about his departure from the firm, Cooper commented: “After many enjoyable years working at The Lettershop and more lately the YM Group, the time has come for me to explore new challenges beyond the activities of the YM Group. I would like to thank my colleagues, both past and present for their assistance and I wish them and the company my best wishes for the future.”

Cooper will continue to work for the business on a part-time basis next year.

Goodman said that Ezzy’s previous position would not be immediately replaced, and he would operate in a joint role for the foreseeable future.

“We may change the team structure, but not immediately,” he added.

Industry associates said that Cooper's departure marked the end of an era at the business.

Go Inspire chief executive Patrick Headley said that Cooper "was Lettershop" and said it was sad for TLG that he was leaving.

"He would be a credit to any business, he's got an incredible mind and I have an incredible amount of respect for him,” he said.

YM Group had sales of £117.1m in its most recent results, to 31 May 2019. Within that, sales at Lettershop were down 8.7% at £17m due to a reduction in retail work in the period. 



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