José Maria Camacho took up the newly-created role yesterday (7 November). He stepped down at rival CirclePrinters earlier this year after the business changed ownership and former Polestar director Peter Andreou became chairman.
At the time Camacho said that after 16 years in print he planned to do something new outside of the industry, but the subsequent offer from Walstead proved too good to turn down.
“The Walstead team explained their projects and ideas, and it sounded very interesting so I kept on listening,” he said.
“They are the most attractive and most dynamic company in the industry at the moment, and my experience makes me a good fit with the organisation.”
Walstead made its first continental acquisition when it bought Bertelsmann’s Spanish web and gravure businesses in 2015.
It went on to acquire Austrian-headquartered Leykam Let’s Print earlier this year.
Walstead Group chief executive Paul Utting praised Camacho’s industry know-how and said he looked forward to working with him. “He is, without doubt, one of the most impressive figures in our industry and has extensive knowledge and experience of the Spanish and other European markets where we operate. We anticipate he will help us to continue developing our business in Spain,” Utting said.
Chairman Mark Scanlon said he believed the group was “building the best management team in the industry”.
“I'm relishing the positive impact that José will have on our Spanish division and, potentially, on other parts of the group,” he said.
Walstead Group director Debbie Read, who had been managing the Walstead Iberia business on an interim basis, is returning to her primary role of group commercial director.
Walstead’s combined operations in the UK and on the continent now process more than 600,000 tonnes of paper a year. Group sales are circa €490m (£437m).